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Scottish Property News

More sellers opt for fixed prices in bid to find a buyer

 © The Herald
Originally published: 12.02.2009
More homes in Scotland are being sold at a fixed price in an attempt to jolt the market.

Estate agents are using the tactic to afford their client a quicker sale at a time when fewer people are prepared to make a serious offer on a property.

Marie Eckford, managing director of Countrywide North, said: "There are more properties at fixed price than when the market was buzzing. Basically, it helps people knowwhere they stand - the seller is prepared to say what they are looking for. It helps to pin the price down and it rules potential buyers either in or out of the sale at an early stage."

She said clientswere aware that they were less likely to get a closing date on offers for their home given the slowdown in the market but that selling a property at a fixed price is not always the preferred route for estate agents.

Ms Eckford added: "It is our job to get the best price for our vendor.

"We don't have a crystal ball.We can't anticipatewhat we will get for an offers over butwewill be surewewill get something above the asking price. It is our duty to act on behalf of the seller."

James Durward, partner at Corum Property, said he personally tried to avoid fixed price deals.

"I avoid them because you are always trying to get the best price for our clients and with fixed price that is not always achievable."

Another estate agent in Glasgow said yesterday she favoured the fixed-price method because it drew in more potential buyers.

With the offers-over system therewas a dangerof potential buyers ruling themselves out of the running by adding 30per cent to 40per cent to the advertised price, the estate agent said.

She added: "Fixed price helps to speed up the process. Vendors have an understanding that they can't put their house on the market and be greedy.

"They know they can't get the same price that their neighbours got last year."

Opinion is also mixed on the impact of home reports on the struggling market.

Since their introduction by the Scottish Government in December last year, vendors must provide a valuation and a single survey on the condition of the property, plus an evaluation of its energy efficiency and its accessibility. A home report can cost anything from GBP300 to GBP500.

Ms Eckford said she felt the reports may have stopped speculative home sellers entering the market.

"I think what they have introduced is a degree of hesitancy. People are having to contemplate another cost and I think it is dissuading speculative sellers from entering the market."

Ms Eckford said that evidence was emerging that the market was beginning to correct itself, with sales now exceeding new customers coming through her office doors.

Graeme Hartley, director of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Scotland, said that buyer inquiries had "risen significantly" over the past three months.

"One reason could be that potential buyers are making the most of home reports being available to them, giving them lots of upfront information about a property, without them having to commission their own survey."

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