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Role of solicitors vs estate agents

(12 Posts)
solera2015 Mon 02-Dec-19 20:24:45

We are in the early stages of considering a move to Scotland. Whilst we've bought & sold a number of homes in England I'm not so sure about the Scottish system. For example, it seems solicitors often advertise property rather than take a more independent role, in effect doing the estate agent job? Do I need to appoint a separate solicitor just to go through offer stages (as opposed to once accepted to move to exchange & completion)? I'd really appreciate it if someone could provide me with a quick overview?

cdtaylornats Tue 03-Dec-19 07:33:52

You need your own solicitor but if that solicitor firm is advertising a house for sale and you want to buy it then a different solicitor in the same firm will handle the seller's side.

solera2015 Tue 03-Dec-19 07:40:07

At which stage do I need a solicitor? So I would expect to view properties with a number of estate agents. Put in an offer to the estate agent if I find something I like and, if accepted, we both appoint solicitors at different firm to do their legal thing to take to completion. How does it differ from this in Scotland?

solera2015 Tue 03-Dec-19 07:42:11

Does the solicitor also act as estate agent or are they separate functions / people under one umbrella brand?

tabulahrasa Tue 03-Dec-19 10:25:54

You don’t put in the offer, your solicitor does. So you need one before offering.

Estate agents sometimes have their own solicitors or just a firm they work with... but it’s not the same person and they’d be working with the seller anyway, you’d have your own seperate solicitor - some can do both seller and buyer because they have multiple solicitors, but you’d usually go to someone else completely.

solera2015 Tue 03-Dec-19 10:36:02

Thank you tabularhasa. And is my offer legally (as opposed to morally) binding from the point of acceptance? For example, I know there is a home report but we would always have a full structural survey, the result of which can obviously have an impact.

solera2015 Tue 03-Dec-19 10:37:39

Also, do you pay your solicitor for every offer submitted? It could take offers on a number of properties over an extended period of time before we can secure what we want.

tabulahrasa Tue 03-Dec-19 11:03:42

“And is my offer legally (as opposed to morally) binding from the point of acceptance?”

Ish, lol, you’d either do the survey before offering or the offer would be subject to survey so minor stuff thrown up by a survey usually means a bit of haggling over the price, major issues you could go, nope I don’t want it.

What’s hard to do is just pull out for no reason. So you’d not put in an offer if for instance you were selling and it wasn’t under offer yet.

“Also, do you pay your solicitor for every offer submitted?”

Usually yes, but it’s not a large amount and unless it was a really long drawn out process it’d just get added in to your final bill.

solera2015 Tue 03-Dec-19 11:51:13

Interesting, thank you. All these differences make me appreciate it is actually moving to a different country. Exciting!

user1487194234 Tue 03-Dec-19 22:07:10

Very unusual in Scotland to do a structural survey as standard

solera2015 Wed 04-Dec-19 05:59:27

I think most people in England don't bother with a structural survey either. However, once we moved from flats to detached (period) house it seemed sensible to take every precaution with such a large investment. Although many object to cost of structural survey, it is a fraction of the house purchase cost. A mid-level homebuyers report, which I suspect is similar to the Scottish HR, does not really do any in depth investigation. Probably not needed when you buy a newer property.

ConstantScot Wed 04-Dec-19 17:42:30

You arrange viewings through estate agent you can 'note interest' with them directly, meaning that if they get an offer or it goes to closing date (popular in Scotland depending on location) they will keep you informed. You can see home reports before you view property so you'll have a rough idea of the state of repair, these are often not as reliable as they're thought to be.
You appoint a solicitor to make offers, ours didn't charge per offer.. best to ask. Good luck!

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