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Things in the property market have been somewhat on hold but that does not mean your preparations for selling should be.

Following the First Minister’s announcement that we shall be entering Phase 2 of the easing lockdown restrictions, the current restrictions on moving home will begin to ease from 29th June 2020. If you want to sell your home, you will need to have your home ready.

Under the current restrictions, estate agents’ offices are closed, surveyors cannot attend at properties, at least not inside, and only those house moves which are deemed “reasonably necessary” should go ahead.

The most recent guidance from the Scottish Government states: –

During phase 2, members of the public will be allowed to leave their homes to undertake certain activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property which are expected to include:

  • visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes;
  • viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or rent;
  • preparing a residential property to move in;
  • moving home; or
  • visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property.

This will allow people working for relevant organisations and businesses to travel to work where necessary to undertake these activities in a safe manner.  A key change is that a home move will no longer have to be reasonably necessary; home moves will be permitted.  Everyone should still comply with the physical distancing and health guidelines.

As it says, the easing of restrictions includes the developments listed and although restrictions will be eased from 29th June 2020 that does not necessarily mean the market will immediately spring back into action. Sellers will need to consider whether they want viewing to take place in the home they are selling, especially if it is the home they live in, and Purchasers will similarly need to consider whether they are comfortable going into someone else’s home. Many estate agents offer alternative viewings by way of virtual viewings online and it is worth considering this as an alternative to in person viewings.

Although safeguarding measures must remain in place the requirement to prepare your home for going on the market remains.

As a seller you get two real opportunities to impress and sell your property. The first is online, either by way of a virtual tour or photographs or both, which you will organise with your chosen estate agent; the second, is when the prospective purchasers come to visit your home.

With in-person home viewings these will take on a slightly different format in that Sellers and viewers shall still need to exercise social distancing along with other good hygiene practices. Therefore, to make viewings as smooth and manageable as possible there are certain precautionary steps we would advise taking:

  1. Tidy-up. This may seem obvious but if we are exercising social distancing and you as the seller may have to be outside the property whilst viewings are going on you will want the house to be as clutter free as possible to allow viewers and therefore potential buyers, as free a passage as possible through your house. You will not be there to pick up any wayward items as you go or to explain away any items you forgot to clear up.
  2. Make sure each room is presented for its advertised purpose. If you are selling a four bedroom home but only use three and the fourth is an office, gym or just simply a store room then present it as a bedroom as it is realistic to expect that potential buyers looking for a four bedroom house will want to see all four bedrooms as that, after all, wouldn’t you?
  3. Take care of any remedial jobs you can. You do not have to redecorate your house, but you don’t want it looking worn if you can help it. Yes a family home will have wear and tear but is a potential buyer looking for that or do they want to see the property in its best light thereby allowing them to imagine how the property will look to them with their family in it.

What else do I need to sell my house in Scotland?

Well, there is more to selling a house than employing an estate agent, making it presentable and sticking it on the market. You need to be ready to move once you have that all-important buyer in place. Below is a list of documents and information you can provide your solicitor with, if you have them, which will greatly speed up the transaction and which we would recommend you look out and have in place even before you put your property on the market. It is sensible to instruct your solicitor in the proposed sale at the same time as you instruct your estate agent and this will allow all parties to work together to secure the offer and sale as quickly as possible and with as little inconvenience to you as possible.

Here is the list: –

  1. Your title documents. These will be either a Land Certificate or older handwritten deeds.
  2. A note of your mortgage provider and mortgage account number. Your solicitor will ensure the redemption of your mortgage as part of the transaction.
  3. Identification. An obvious one but essential. The transaction will not proceed without ID no matter how well you know your solicitor.
  4. Copy planning application(s), Building Warrant and Completion Certificate for any alterations carried out at the property which required these permissions and consents.
  5. NHBC paperwork if the property is less than ten years old.
  6. SEPA registration documentation if for instance there is a septic tank you use.
  7. Are you aware of any defects or issues with the title to your property? If so, do you have a Title Indemnity Policy? Again, your solicitor will need to see this.
  8. Did you buy the property through a shared equity or government Help to Buy scheme? Again, details of all the parties involved will need to be provided to your solicitor.

This list is not exhaustive as there are many unique circumstances which can come with property ownership.

Contact our Property Lawyers for Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway

As with anything relating to your property transaction for the best advice and a detailed discussion and assurance as to how to proceed, contact us here at The McKinstry Company and we can take you through the whole process.

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Some of our happy clients
  • Really helpful and friendly always replied to calls and emails. Thank you very much for all your help and advice and hard work.

    Mr S, Auchinleck
  • First class throughout 100% better than last time we moved house and used a different firm. Always responded to promptly with appropriate detailed replies. First Class

    Mr N, Ayr
  • Thank you for the support during a difficult time.

    Mrs M, Ayr
  • Every email was timely and actioned quickly. Kirsty and Libby were exceptional to deal with. They kept me informed in a timely manner with the added complication of our sale being carried out whilst we are currently based in America.

  • My emails were always responded to in a timely manner no matter who I was dealing with. Thank you to Nat and Kirsty who helped throughout our move and during some difficult times when lock down was first announced! They have both been great.

    Miss K, Dalry
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    Mr H, Ayr
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  • Everyone concerned in the sale of our property was very efficient and kept us up to date with all happenings.

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We are open by appointment but these will be restricted to executry and matrimonial clients. Social distancing measures will be in place and please ensure face coverings are worn when entering the office.