House selling procedure

The Steps Involved in Selling a House

You may not be familiar with house selling procedure in Scotland or it may be a while since you marketed and sold your house.  Either way, this brief guide outlines the matters that will have to be addressed.

Marketing

You will discuss the asking price with our estate agency staff.

They will visit your property, take measurements and photographs and prepare a Schedule.

Once this has been done, the property can be marketed.

You should make sure that any documentation that will be needed, e.g. the paperwork for alterations carried out, is available at this stage so that once an offer is received there will be no delays.

Your solicitor will need your mortgage account details if you have a loan so that the title deeds can be uplifted from the bank or building society.

Closing date

Normally, if a viewer has a serious interest in your property, they will ‘note interest’.

This is an indication that they wish to be given the opportunity to put in an offer for the house.

There is no obligation to fix a closing date, but this is the normal procedure if somebody has noted interest.

We, as selling agents, will let all interested parties know that their best offer should be submitted on a particular date – and you will need to be available to decide which offer to accept.

Purchasers are always keen to know whether their offer has been successful on the closing date. Bear in mind that you do not need to accept the highest offer – or, indeed, any offer.

Contract

The offer forms the first part of the contract.

The contract is made up of an exchange of letters between the solicitors and does not need to be signed either by the purchaser or the seller.

In Scotland the date of settlement (being the date that the purchase price is paid in exchange for the keys) is put in the offer and unless you ask for it to be changed at the time the offer is received this is the date that applies. The settlement date is normally about 6 to 8 weeks after the date of the offer.

The aim is to get the contract in place as soon as possible and neither the seller nor the purchaser should delay in doing this.

The contract is only binding once all points have been agreed and until that point either the Seller or the Purchaser can back out without any penalty.  Once the contract is in place there will be provisions for the protection of both the seller and the purchaser.

The buildings insurance should remain in place until the sale is completed. Likewise, you should continue to maintain the property.

Conveyancing

During the 6 to 8 week period, as well as making sure that the contract is in place, your solicitor will request the Local Authority and Land Register Reports which the purchaser’s solicitor will need to see.

ARTL

The Registers of Scotland have introduced a new registration system called ARTL (Automated Registration of Title to Land).

The system is electronic-based so there will be no need for paper copies of the deed to transfer title as these are signed on your behalf electronically.

The system has been approved by the Law Society of Scotland and is supported by many of the lending institutions.  There are many transactions which are not ARTL-compatible for various reasons.  For example, if your property is not on the Land Register system (in Moray, if you purchased your property prior to 2002), your sale will not be ARTL-compatible.

We will confirm as soon as possible whether or not your sale is ARTL-compatible and whether the purchasers wish to proceed by means of ARTL.

The main benefits of the ARTL system are with the purchaser rather than the seller.

If you have a mortgage and it is possible to have this discharged via the ARTL system, it will mean a slight saving on the registration dues of the Discharge.

If the transaction is proceeding by ARTL, we will request you to sign a Mandate authorising partners at Grigor & Young to digitally sign the Deed of Transfer on your behalf.   The electronic deed will remain in our control until settlement and payment has been made by the purchasing solicitor.

Mortgage

Your solicitor will contact your lender to confirm the amount that is needed to pay off your loan.

The loan is paid from the sale price and your solicitor will make sure that the Register shows that there is no longer a loan outstanding by having a Discharge registered.

Settlement

Your solicitor will gather all of the documentation together and obtain the final reports.

You may be asked to hand in a key, probably on the day before settlement so that your solicitor can settle with the purchaser’s solicitor in the morning.

It is usual that settlement will have taken place by lunchtime, but there is no guarantee of this.

If you are also purchasing on the same day, the sale must go through first and the purchase will not be able to go ahead unless you have made other arrangements regarding funding – e.g. bridging loan. Payment of the purchase price is made by the purchaser’s solicitor to us.

After settlement

Your solicitor will arrange to have any outstanding invoices in connection with the Estate Agency and Conveyancing paid.

If the remaining funds are not needed in connection with a purchase then the balance will be paid to you.

Normally, settlement is made by a cheque from the purchaser’s solicitor to your solicitors so it will take a few days for that cheque to clear before payment can be made to your lender or to you.

Possible delays

Although the vast majority of transactions go through on the planned date, there is a possibility that the sale could be delayed through no fault of yours and sometimes no-one’s fault.  A last minute problem can arise.

Please bear this in mind when making arrangements for moving or if you are relying on the funds for a purchase. The best way to minimise delays is to make sure that all documentation for alterations etc. is in place before the property is put on the market.

This is a brief outline only and cannot cover every circumstance which can arise and which might affect your house sale.  We hope you find it helpful.

Contact us for help

For further information, contact one of the conveyancing team at Grigor & Young on 01343 544077 or mail@grigor-young.co.uk or for properties in Forres call 01309 672126 or email forres@grigor-young.co.uk