Arranging estate agents and solicitors

So we’ve covered some of the basics you’ll want to think about when selling your home, but now it’s time to start looking at those important stages that quickly get the whole process on the right lines. Of course, one of your first considerations will be estate agents and solicitors (conveyancers). It’s worth remembering that in Scotland solicitors can also act as estate agents, as well as carrying out conveyancing services. You don’t have to choose the estate agent for both, but it’s handy to have the option available.

Of course, if you're thinking about buying in the near future, you'll want to ensure it's the right decision both financially and emotionally. Are you ready to commit yourself to a mortgage, whether alone or with your other half? Not only should you consider the initial costs, but also the ongoing expenses of maintaining your new home - those you're unlikely to factor in when renting.

Choosing the right estate agent

When it comes to estate agents, the key thing to remember is that they work for you. They’ll help to market and promote your property – but the final selling decision is solely yours. You should never feel pressurised to agree to any offers.

How to choose the right estate agent

There are a number of estate agents to choose from, including local operations and national companies. So, with so many options, which should you choose? There are plenty of factors to consider, and in order to create a shortlist, take the following tips on board:

Speak to your friends and family – can they recommend any estate agents they’ve used in the past?

Compare estate agents based on how quickly their properties sell. You don’t want your house sitting on the market for months on end.

Think about commission. Estate agents will charge varying rates of commission so consider how much you want to pay – what’s included in the deal?

How expensive is your property? There are specialist estate agents who deal with pricey properties, so you might want to instruct one of these to work on your behalf.

Compare the marketing materials. What will be used to promote your home? Will your property appear online? Does the estate agents work with s1homes to provide even more coverage?

How much is your home valued? Commonly, estate agents tend to differ when it comes to the value of any property – with valuations being a few thousand pounds apart. Of course, you want the most for your property – but don’t want it marketed too high or low. Try to find the middle ground.

Will the estate agent be present for the viewings, or do you need to show people around?

When it comes to valuations, be aware that some estate agents could suggest your property is worth more than it really is – to persuade you to come on board. Think logically and ensure your property is promoted at a realistic price. You can also get a free property valuation with s1homes, to give you an idea of exactly how much your home’s worth.

How much do estate agents cost?

The cost of hiring estate agents does vary from company to company, but it’s fair to say there’s often a little leeway – so don’t be afraid to try and haggle on the commission.

Generally, estate agents will charge somewhere between 1% and 3.5% + VAT for commission. Whilst it may sound like a small percentage difference, depending on the value of your property – this could be worth many thousands of pounds. For instance, if your home sells for £300,000, the difference between 1% and 2% is £3,000.

  • Most estate agent fees exclude VAT, but check with the company you’re speaking to.
  • On many occasions you’ll pay commission on completion – so the fee will be taken straight from the profit your home has made.
  • There could be other administrative charges, both upfront and on completion. Check these before signing the dotted line.

Agreeing conveyancing terms

Aside from estate agents, you’ll need to arrange a solicitor to carry out all the legal aspects of the property sale. This is known as conveyancing, and both the buyer and seller need to pay for someone to handle these matters. On some occasions both parties use the same conveyancers for convenience, although it’s often the case that the buyer and seller will choose different solicitors.

Of course, there’s every chance you will be buying another property at the same time. As such, conveyancing fees often include:

  • Checking the title when the property is marketed
  • Managing all financial transactions
  • Arranging all relevant property documents
  • Negotiating contracts with the buyer's conveyancer
  • Draw up the 'missives' contract
  • Arrange the Date of Entry

This part of the process involves your solicitor sending the purchaser's solicitor the title deeds and related documentation for examination, to make sure the purchaser is getting good title and clear searches and reports. The purchaser's solicitor examines these, and draws up a title deed for transfer to the purchaser of the property.

The title deeds and searches are sent back to your solicitor with the draft disposition (new title deed). Your solicitor then processes everything, and sends the purchaser's solicitor the up-to-date searches.

The purchaser's solicitor then receives the loan papers from the purchaser's mortgage lender. These are processed and to be signed by the purchaser(s). This is the fundamental mortgage document and gets registered in the Land Register of Scotland with the purchaser's new title deed after completion.

The purchaser's solicitor advises the purchaser what exact sum is needed - deposit, legal costs, Land and Building Transaction Tax (LBTT) if any, and arranges for that to be paid in time for completion.

Or, if the purchaser is also selling a property to finance the new purchase, the solicitor will calculate the money to come in from the sale. They’ll work out what’s to be paid out for the purchase, and the relative costs on both transactions, before advising the client if he has to pay money to finance the purchase. There could be money left over that will go back to the client at the end of the process.

At the same time, the solicitor reports to the mortgage lender as to the title and searches being clear, and asks for the mortgage funds to be sent to join with the client's money, ready to be paid over at completion.


Selling Privately

Although it’s not the most common route, you can opt for selling the property privately – and save yourself a small fortune in the process. Of course, you won’t have the professional help of an estate agent and will need to negotiate on price by yourself – however, it certainly has its benefits. Namely, you won’t need to pay commission.

Plus, even without an estate agent, you can still list your property on s1homes to ensure getting great coverage from thousands of potential buyers. It’s an easy process and in no time at all your home could be online.

Setting a valuation

Of course, the main difficulty to taking the private route, is being able to set the right valuation. You want to hit the mark where you’ll draw buyers in, but without setting the bar too low.

To achieve the right valuation, research is key. Take a look at the current market – particularly properties of a similar standard in the area. How much are they on the market for? How much are they actually selling for? You can check out our listings to get a general feel for the market, or get a free valuation straight from s1homes.

Before you do market your property though:

  • Consider minor renovations and repair work that’ll boost the value and make it easier to sell.
  • Think about arranging a survey, if you’re worried about something such as the roof.
  • You may also want to include fittings or fixtures with the sale, including kitchen appliances, curtains and rails. If that’s the case, think about how much you’d value these at. Just remember there are features that must come with the sale, such as central heating.