Frequently asked questions
This FAQ section is designed to help everyone, whether they have not moved for a while, have never sold before or are first time buyers. There may even be something in it for the more seasoned house mover.
I am not sure if I can get a mortgage? What should I do?
The criteria for eligibility for mortgages change continually.
You will need a deposit which will be at least 5% of the total cost of the property you are going to buy.
The larger the deposit you have to put down, the less you have to borrow and so borrowing becomes cheaper. The initial step may be to visit your own bank although each bank can only discuss its own products.
My advice is to seek out the advice of an independent financial advisor (IFA). For a rough idea of the monthly payments, visit this website calculator.
Having a mortgage in principle make you a strong buying prospect. Once you have determined that you are eligible for a mortgage and from that what your budget is, then you are able to begin the search.
How do I know what to look for and which house is suitable?
It may seem obvious but most people make a wish list in their head and begin the search without writing in down.
You should decide on the location, size, attributes and a host of other things that are important to you. Then find all the houses that meet your requirements within your budget.
View all the properties that may be suitable, then narrow them down to a short list and go for a second viewing at each.
To help you KA Homesales have made up a wish list toolkit for you to download which will also aid you make the selection from your short list of suitable properties. click here to download.
If I find a home that is suitable, how do I know it is correctly priced?
Us estate agents are tricky characters, always trying to obtain the highest price for our clients. Fortunately, the Home Report comes with a valuation by a surveyor which should help guide the buyer.
If your budget is, say, £100k and the house you like the look of is priced at £100k then the Home Report is a guide to what work is required in the property. A very good HR would indicate that little work is required and that offering close to the valuation should mean you will require little expenditure once purchased.
However a HR with a lot of work required at the same price normally indicates that the house would be more expensive if all the work was already done. You may have to adjust your budget accordingly.
I have a whole FAQ section entirely dedicated to Home reports. Prices for previous property sales are readily available, so do the research.
I have found the home I want, what do I do next?
Make an offer! This is as easy as making a verbal offer to the Agent who must take it to the seller.
Some people prefer to have their solicitor make a formal offer. Either way, you should consider the first offer as the opening offer.
Agents will always try to get more for their clients. Whether or not it is accepted will depend on the seller, the amount offered, entry date and how strong a position you are in.
Once an offer is accepted, is that a binding contract?
In Scotland, once an offer has been accepted and the lawyers begin the process of conveyancing, it is deemed that the Home is ”under offer”.
That means that the agent will not show the home to other interested parties or accept any other offers. However, if the process does not go to conclusion or if the agreement breaks down because some conditions are not met, then the property can return to the market.
Only when the Missives have been exchanged is everybody committed beyond doubt.
What has happened to Stamp Duty, is it abolished?
Unfortunately not, however the tax burden for most buyers in Scotland has been reduced significantly.
The duty is payable on homes with a selling price of over £145k and is not as oppressive as the previous system which was 1% of the whole amount over £125k.
What is the process for putting my home on the market?
The first step is to arrange a valuation from a trusted Estate Agent. Most agencies provide these free of charge and a good agent will take the time to explain everything fully at the valuation.
They will also try to secure your business, so although informative, be prepared to find out about their products and services. You should use the valuation to select the agent you wish to act for you.
Do I need an Estate Agent to sell my house?
No. You are not required to use an agency when selling your home.
However, as 95% of buyers find their new homes on line these days, the best way to ensure that your property is found by as many buyers as possible is to use an agent with access to the busiest property portals in your area.
I've heard I need a Home Report to sell my home and they are very expensive?
If you are putting your home on the open market in Scotland, since November 2008 the vendor (seller) is required to supply buyers with a Home Report or Single Survey.
The survey must be completed by a member of the RICS and supplies the buyer with all the information they require with which to make an informed decision as to whether or not to purchase a property.
The cost depends on the value of the home, usually and begins around £300. You do not require a HR if you have organised a private sale, ie not on the open market.
Will my Estate Agent tell me how to get the most for my house?
Yes. At the valuation, a good agent will point out the areas where work should be carried out before arranging the survey and going to market.
Buyers are very discerning and a lot of small jobs add up in their minds and will ultimately determine the price offered.
For more info see Home Reports
Is a Home Report worth the paper it’s written on?
While the HR has its critics, it is an extensive document supplied by a qualified RICS Surveyor which does give a great deal of information regarding the soundness of the build and integrity of the property as well as to the energy efficiency and other vital information a buyer needs to know when purchasing any property.
A good HR will help you get the best price for your home.
Is spring the best time to go on the market?
The spring is a time when traditionally more homes come to the market, the belief being that the house looks better then as it can be presented with new growth and flowers blooming.
While that may be true, there are many buyers who are looking all year round and may have their deposit ready, or sold themselves, or had a windfall and so by waiting until the spring you may miss the buyer for your home.
Also, the competition will be greater if everyone waits to come to market at the same time. You should go to market when you and the house are ready.
What happens if my home doesn’t sell?
Even in the most buoyant of housing markets there are homes which do not sell for various reasons.
The demand may just not be there at the price that the vendor requires to move on. You should check at the valuation stage if your agent will charge you a fee to remove you from their advertising books, a withdrawal or cancelation fee.
It might be an option to rent out the property in order to move on.
Is my bank the best place to go for my mortgage on my next home?
It is essential to get mortgage advice before you decide to put your home on the market.
Once you have the valuation from the Agent, the mortgage adviser will be able to discuss your options. Sometimes the answer to this question is yes, and the mortgage product in existence for your current home may be portable.
It may be that your bank has the most competitive product available. I advise that you speak to an independent advisor who is able to look at the whole of the mortgage market whereas the bank can only tell you about their own products.
Should I spend money on the house before I go to market?
This depends on whether the investment can immediately add greater value to the property than the cost of the improvements to the seller.
Buying new carpets and repainting a home will certainly spruce it up and will give the buyers a warmer feeling at the viewings and will help get nearer the valuation price.
However, larger projects such as new kitchen and bathroom may not add as much value to the property as the cost of installation. Your agent should help you with this decision.
Remember, a new kitchen may not suit the buyer and may be ripped out as soon as they take possession of the home and you cannot anticipate the buyer’s wishes regarding the bathroom set up.
Apart from the Home report and Agency fees, are there any other fees that I will incur?
You will also need a Solicitor with an office registered in Scotland to handle the legal aspects of the sale. This is called Conveyancing.
They work on your behalf to make sure that what you think you are selling is what the buyer thinks they are buying and looking for any legal impediments to the sale.
It is worth selecting a solicitor early on in the process as you will need one as soon as you receive an offer you wish to accept. Again your agent will advise you.
How long does a home report last?
I have heard a lot of misinformation of this subject.
The Home Report will last for as long as the home is on sale, providing there is no break of marketing.
It does not need refreshed every 3 months. However, when an offer to purchase has been agreed, the bank may ask for the surveyor to revisit the property if it is more than three months since the original survey. This is not always the case, many banks will send out a different surveyor for a valuation. The cost of the refresh is not a full replacement Home Report but a refresh and is around £120-£150.
A Home Report is purchased by the home owner and can still be used should they choose to change estate agents without having to have it refreshed.
What is the valuation on the Home Report and can it be relied upon?
The valuation is the surveyor’s opinion as to what the property is worth in the current market at the time of the survey. Before the surveyor puts his valuation on the HR has does some research and finds properties of a comparable type that have sold within a certain frame.
He will adjust the valuation by condition and extensions, improvements, more modern installations etc.
The valuation is of course an opinion from a property expert with RICS qualifications and he will normally have evidence with which to back up the valuation. In a quickly changing market the valuation may be out of date very soon.
What If I think the value is too low?
As a buyer then you have a bargain! Other buyers may notice too so be prepared. As a seller you may have a discussion with the surveyor and your agent can assist here too.
The surveyor has to back up his decision with comparable evidence, so if you have some you to back up your case he may be persuaded. You do not have to authorise the Home Report until you are satisfied with the contents.
What if you think the value is too high?
As a buyer you can offer below the valuation, although the vendor may reject it depending on the circumstances.
The length of time since the report was done may be an influence on this decision. Also, if the report indicates that a lot of work is required, the cost of doing the work can vary from buyer to buyer.
As a seller, occasionally the motivation is not to achieve the maximum but to sell within a time frame. The important thing is the valuation should be realistic.
We feel that this is in the clients interest.