If you are thinking about selling your home, you’ll probably have number of questions about the process and what exactly it is you need to do. You might also need some insight into the best way to choose a solicitor or an indication of how long the process will take. This post looks at some of the most common questions property sellers have and aims to give you some simple straightforward advice on selling your home. We can also put you in touch one of our trusted partners, the Glasgow Law Practice, experts in the field, should you need help in finding a solicitor to manage your sale.
Legal fees for selling your home can vary significantly depending on how much work is involved and you want to be sure you are getting good value for money. We have produced a short guide on the best way to choose a family law solicitor however much of the information is relevant for choosing a solicitor to sell your home, too.
When choosing a conveyancing solicitor or firm, you should take account of:
You can check the firm’s website for testimonials, information about selling your home and a bit about how they work. You should also be able to see their office location and contact details.
If you are looking to sell your property, in the majority of situations it is recommended that you use a solicitor or estate agent to act as a selling agent to find a buyer. Whilst it may cost a little more to use a selling agent, they will be responsible for producing the Home Report, advertising the property, negotiating the price of the property and also usually for showing potential buyers around the property. Another advantage of using a selling agent is that if chosen correctly, they will have specialist knowledge of properties in the area and may specialise in the type of property you are selling.
How long the process will take can vary depending on your circumstances -and also whether everything on both sides runs smoothly. Where you have already vacated your property and the buyer has a mortgage in place, or does not require a mortgage and does not have to sell their own property to purchase yours, exchanging contracts and completion can take as little as a few days. However, where the buyer needs to secure a mortgage and you are still living in the property, the exchange of contracts will usually take around 4-6 weeks. Completion will then take another 2-4 weeks. Therefore you will normally be looking at around 6-10 weeks to complete the legal process of selling your property.
When you decide to sell your home, price is one of the most important things to think about. You should discuss this with the estate agent or solicitor handling the sale. There are various ways to advertise the price of the property. You may choose to advertise for “offers over”, this means that the price advertised is the minimum you are willing to accept but that you would ideally like more for the property. Alternatively, you can offer the property at a “Fixed price” - this means that the first offer of the amount advertised will secure the sale, however you may also accept an offer that is less than the fixed price.
There are number of things that will dictate the price advertised and your solicitor or agent will be able to discuss these with you in relation to your property. For example, if the property you are selling is small and well suited to first time buyers, it is important to sell at a realistic price reflective of how much a surveyor says the property is worth. This is because first time buyers may find it difficult to borrow large sums.
An offer will come from a potential buyer’s solicitor and contain basic terms such as price, proposed date of entry and also more technical details such as liability for repairs to the property. Your solicitor may advise you not to accept the highest offer where the terms are not agreeable. Your solicitor must be involved in the acceptance of the offer and usually there will be a period of negotiation between your solicitor and the buyer’s solicitor regarding the terms of the sale. During this period of negotiation known as “missives” , offers for sale are not legally binding and either party can decide that they do not which to proceed.
Once full agreement about the terms of the contract have been reached between your solicitor and the buyer’s solicitor, the sale of the property is concluded. This is known as “concluding missives”. After missives have been concluded, neither party can break the contract or they will be liable to pay compensation to the other party. This means that if a better offer comes along, you cannot accept it without severe penalty.
The sale will be deemed to be complete at the ‘date of entry’ agreed in the contract terms. On this date, you must have left the property and handed your keys to your solicitor. It is then the responsibility of your solicitor to deliver the keys and a legal document called the ‘disposition’ to the buyers (now the owners). The disposition formally transfers ownership of the property. In return, the buyers solicitor will deliver a cheque for the full amount of the purchase price agreed, or the price can be transferred by a BACS transfer. Where you still have a loan outstanding on the property you have sold, this must now be paid off. However, your solicitor will deal with this on your behalf, obtain a ‘redemption statement’ from your bank or building society and pay off the loan with the proceeds of the sale.
At Unlock the Law we provide you with useful and practical information about your legal issue so you can better understand your position - however information isn’t always the end of the story. We can also connect you to one of our trusted partners who can actually solve your legal problems, should you require more than initial advice. The useful information in this article has been sponsored by The Glasgow Law Practice, a firm and estate agency specialising in property in Scotland. We only recommend firms we know to be efficient, upfront and client-focussed in every way. If you are looking to buy or sell property in Scotland, contact the Glasgow Law Practice today on 0141 530 5193. They won’t charge you anything for the initial conversation and there’s no obligation. Alternatively, send an enquiry online and one of their specialist solicitors will be in touch.