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Edinburgh estate agents/solicitors

(34 Posts)
OOAOML Wed 18-May-16 11:31:41

Would welcome advice from other Edinburgh MNers.

For anyone who remembers me, we are finally getting ready to put the flat on the market (has been a long road). We've had three people round to give a quick valuation and quote for their services. But my head is spinning as to who to pick. We have two of them that we're considering but their costs vary by over £1,000 (for selling and buying, but the main difference seems to be the selling costs).

Company 1 - don't see their boards around much in the area, gave us a valuation based on what the flat over the landing sold for a year ago, and it needed a lot of work (currently being gutted), cheaper quote. Not sure if they will charge more if the home report comes back with a higher value.

Company 2 - seem to do quite a lot of business in the area, had lots of research done and gave us a valuation backed up by recent sales of similar flats they had done. More expensive, but also very pro-active at following up (I've requested home reports for flats they're selling before, and they're one of the few companies that actually follows up after this).

I moved from rented into my husband's flat, so I've never done the selling/buying thing before. How much do the solicitors actually do? I'm assuming that once we have the home report done both will price accordingly, and pretty much market through the same platforms. 2 bedroom flats here seem to be moving really quickly - does it matter which we go with? My gut tells me to go with the second one, but then I wonder if it will make much difference? We need to tie up getting a good price with getting this sold quickly (and then pray we can get a decent 3 bed, as they're all moving quickly too but less choice in the market just now).

I am possibly over-stressed about this, but we have had quite a time to get to this stage, and I don't want to make the wrong decision (husband says he has no idea which to go with). I may also be stressing over details because I have an OU exam to fit into the whole decluttering and showing schedule.

prettybird Wed 18-May-16 11:51:06

We used one of the "big" local estate agents in Glasgow (albeit many years ago) rather than one of the cheaper ones. We negotiated a sliding scale of commission, so if they sold for a price above a certain amount, they got a higher percentage.

In terms of your two choices, what their on-line presence like? If you search on your sort of property, what do you find? How well does it look presented? How easy is it to search?

OOAOML Wed 18-May-16 11:59:18

The cheapest quote we've had is one of the fixed price people, but we're not likely to go with them as we've heard about some issues with their service.

They both market on the same websites, the more expensive one is pricing for adverts in the Scotsman which I think might be overkill, most people I know will be going via the ESPC. The schedules we've seen are broadly similar, both do good floor plans, the more expensive company slightly better on pictures I think. More expensive one has searchable property on their website, other one doesn't seem to (more standard solicitor type stuff, than property-focussed). More expensive one sells more of this type of flat in this area.

We do probably just need to pick one and go with it, just worried about the costs (which are going to rack up, but will just need to swallow it) and wondering how much difference they make - I'm guessing it is more at the pushing for feedback and getting in offers stage.

OneMagnumisneverenough Wed 18-May-16 13:16:10

I'd go with the 2nd one, I think good communication is a very good indicator of the service you will get for your money. I also think that ultimately they sound more interested in getting you the best price/deal. It will also be important when you are buying that you have someone who's services you feel you can rely on.

If you don't feel the Scotsman advert is necessary, then ask them to remove that from the quote/contract.

Best of luck.

OOAOML Wed 18-May-16 13:23:31

Thanks - I am leaning towards the second. Had a look at both websites again and the first does have property on their website but you have to go through a couple of options to get to it, it isn't in your face. Also their schedules are mainly pictures, brief description and floorplan. Second one very similar on description and floorplan, but has the 'key facts' of the property on the first page as well. I just have a much better feeling about them. But I keep coming back to is my feeling worth over a grand?

I am majorly over-thinking all this but we have taken so long to get to this point. We have money saved to pay costs so there's enough, just it took a long time to pull together and don't want to fritter it. But then we do need to get a good price on ours so we can move to something decent.

I do think putting a 2 bed tenement in the Scotsman is pushing it - I'm pretty sure the demographic that's looking for that kind of flat will be looking at the ESPC.

OneMagnumisneverenough Wed 18-May-16 13:37:17

It's been a while since I've been in the Edinburgh market, but if I was looking for a property my first port of call would be the ESPC website/S1 homes/Rightmove. I wouldn't be looking at individual estate agents never mind perusing the Scotsman.

The circulation numbers for papers are vastly reduced and tbf if we don't advertise stuff in them then they will soon be gone from a physical presence so I do feel torn in that regards, but at the end of the day, the market is what it is.

Floorplans and description are good and presumably that will follow through to the ESPC pages? can you also look at how the properties from each agent are represented on those websites to see if there is a marked difference?

I think in a lot of ways you get what you pay for, I would expect a better service (which may result in a better price/better positioned buyer or not) but at least I think their advice, care and attention to detail should be better by the sounds of it. It would be easy to make up a £1k difference purely in getting a better price due to better advice during the selling or buying process. It's not a lot in the grand scheme of things- just stop making it look like a new sofa in your head.....grin

OOAOML Wed 18-May-16 13:48:26

How do you know I want a new sofa?wink And lots of new bookcases as well, as our trashy ones didn't hold up well to being taken apart to go into storage.

There isn't really a marked difference on the ESPC website other than I prefer one set of schedules - they both have a similar amount of information but the second one present it better and summarise it, the first mainly go with pictures.

I'm also forgetting (sorry) that the first one were offering us a discount as my sister in law works for another law firm and referred us for a quote. I think that was a few hundred. So their actual price is closer to the second and in terms of marketing I'm really not seeing the justification.

My gut is definitely the second. I'll talk it through with my husband tonight (he 's not always the most dynamic so I am having to keep pushing at decisions/decluttering).

OneMagnumisneverenough Wed 18-May-16 13:58:42

Initially you could go back to Company 2 and tell them that you are looking at the quotes and whilst they are not the cheapest you have a preference for their service and that in order to push for them with your DH you need to get the quotes a bit closer - can they therefore offer any discount or could they at least re-quote without the Scotsman advert?

Shy bairns get no sweeties.


Avoid Lindsay's, they're criminally slow at doing anything, and Rettie are pretty grim too as well as being very expensive. We've also experienced less than professional behaviour from Savils and Strutt and Parker (ignoring offers/notes of interest in both cases!)

Totally agree with you re ESPC - the Scotsman is unnecessary but ESPC is pretty essential.

Company 2 certainly sound bette

OOAOML Wed 18-May-16 23:36:08

Company 2 are Lindsay's confused. Oh god this is all so difficult. Maybe one of the children could move into a cupboard wink

Sorry! We've had a couple of experiences with them - firstly as macmac when they were the selling agent on a flat my MIL owns. They were just very inefficient, not remotely proactive, the flat sat on the market for months despite being in a great area and they didn't once even discuss alternative strategies. Except to sell her Scotsman advertising funnily enough. Ended up taking it off the market

They were also the seller's solicitor when we bought and whilst they didn't do anything especially wrong they caused a lot of hold ups on what should have been a very straightforward transaction. They also gave the seller - who we knew well- some advice which wasn't really accurate and caused some serious alarm until it was diffused

OOAOML Thu 19-May-16 09:56:52

Oh dear. They seem pretty proactive at following up on interest but we've never done this before so nothing to compare it to. Company 1 are Campbell Smith and their valuer just didn't seem interested in anything other than what the 'in need of renovation' flat went for. We also had a quote from Mov8 who valued in line with Lindsays and similar properties on the market. They do a lot in our area, but DH's friend's son had trouble with them (not in our area) - something about the home report not being accepted by the mortgage company.

I hate this, just have no idea who to go with and need to make a decision. Have you had good experiences with anyone?

OneMagnumisneverenough Thu 19-May-16 10:17:41

It's been a while since we were buying and selling though I have done it many many times. I've tended to pick a local solicitor, they don't have so many properties/clients so you get individual attention. It's handy for dropping off and collecting keys on moving day and as everything goes in the ESPC it doesn't really matter whether they have a high street shop window. I honestly can't remember who we used as they were not big names.

OOAOML Thu 19-May-16 10:32:36

Anyone used ELP Arbuthnott McClanachan? They have a local office, their schedules are better than Campbell Smith and they are offering the same range of marketing as Lindsays but not as expensive (they have an online fee calculator, I haven't asked them for a valuation yet).

OneMagnumisneverenough Thu 19-May-16 11:04:22

I've not, no. However, I've bought and sold 8 times over the last 30 years, always (bar once) used a local solicitor to do everything and never had any issues.

The "bar once" was time before last where we used an estate agent for marketing the property. This was the first time DH or I had sold a property outside the Edinburgh espc market and most locals used Estate Agents. They were a nightmare from start to finish and at one point we were trying to cancel their contract due to gross incompetence and do the job ourselves instead. In the end we just had to give them orders and ignore their "advice". If we'd taken their advice, we would have lost the house we were buying and taken £15k less than we got for the property. dickheads.

Felco Thu 19-May-16 11:09:38

Like OneMagnum, have always done it through a solicitor. Once sold a house in Fife through a popular agency and the service was genuinely terrible. Our solicitor has an employee who does property marketing, puts the schedules together etcand her style is lovely - good writing, good design.
It's been a while but last time I got the range of quotes, cheapest was an agency who seemed ok, but perhaps overpromised. We went with the solicitor in the end, as the quote was middling and everything looked 'solid'.
(Also I really value well-written copy and the agency was shakier with that.)

OneMagnumisneverenough Thu 19-May-16 11:20:55

Also, using someone local gives less likelihood of a conflict of interest where the same company are working for both parties. That was one of the issues we had with the estate agent, we had an offer from someone who was still selling their property (via the same agent) agent told them it was okay to offer on ours as they would sell theirs no problem - they didn't and we had to reject their offer in the end. 2nd buyer was actively still looking for other properties via them after offering on ours and they didn't[t think to tell us. It was the solicitors employed to do the legal work that had to deal with all the fall out from this in terms of removing our acceptance of the offers etc. EA were a pain in the arse. they then recommended we reduce the price below the offers we had for a quick sale - this was in a rising market. We upped the price to create a feeling of "you'd better be quick" or it'll be out of your reach soon and sold it within days to someone who responded to a private Ad we'd placed in the paper. Still had to pay the EA though.

OOAOML Thu 19-May-16 11:22:27

I just find it all so confusing as Edinburgh seems stuffed with solicitors that do property. I can see who I think does good and bad schedules, but I have so little idea what they are actually like to work with on the mechanics of the sale (because it seems like you hope for a good valuation on the home report, a good schedule and ESPC listing, and then wait for the Sunday viewings).

OneMagnumisneverenough Thu 19-May-16 11:28:24

Who did you use to buy the property? Were they any good?

I guess it is all a lottery but if the Edinburgh market is still as I remember it being then I don't think it really matters as much as it might if you are trying to sell a niche market rural property.

OOAOML Thu 19-May-16 11:31:59

I have no idea - DH bought it about 14 years ago and can't remember what they were like.

It definitely isn't niche - and flats are moving quickly. I just worry we'll muck this up and not sell/not find anywhere/end up forking out for multiple removal costs and rental.

GrouchyKiwi Thu 19-May-16 11:33:14

Definitely stay away from Mov8. They cut all sorts of corners.

DH now works for a bigger firm, but used to work for a very good small one that specialises in residential property (and family law). Could PM you their info if you're interested in getting more quotes?

Estate agency side of things costs more than the conveyancing work the solicitors do but you need good solicitors to catch any issues with contracts and planning/land registry.

Lindsay's acted for the company that part-exchanged our flat and they were brilliant. In on the Monday to take photos and let me know of anything I needed to do that I hadn't already, schedule ready the next day, flat on the market that afternoon and sold within a week. It might depend on which team you get from the Residential department.

OOAOML Thu 19-May-16 11:43:11

If you don't mind Grouchy that would be good. DH doesn't think we should get another valuation and quote but is as much use as a chocolate teapot in deciding (and it is his bloody flat).

Were Lindsay's good for you at sorting out all the Legal stuff? Everyone we've spoken to has given us the impression the flat will sell quickly but I am wary of hold-ups and issues people have mentioned after that.

GrouchyKiwi Thu 19-May-16 11:50:08

Lindsay's didn't act for us, it's a bit of a weird set up when you part-exchange. The sale went through quite quickly, though, so I think they did a good job.

Will PM you details of the firm.

I've used Arbuthnott - they were our solicitors when we bought. Can't speak for the selling side but they were east to deal with- they're a tiny firm but I don't think that's a bad thing tbh. Friend also had good experience with boyd.

I think lindsay are quite big so I can well imagine getting great or dreadful service depending on which team.

bonnyscott Thu 19-May-16 13:42:13

Used Lindsay's to sell several 2 bed flats in Edin over last few years. I rate them although maybe not so good when you buy.....

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