Do you feel like it’s taking you forever to sell your home or buy a new one? Do you wish it happened sooner, and can it? Instant gratification is not on the cards in the property market, even with cash in hand. Buying or selling a home in Scotland is a process with several legal and technical necessities to fulfil. Preparing yourself for a realistic pace of events allows you to make decisions with better foresight. While you can avoid unusual delays with the right approach and correct preliminaries, you will still have to adhere to a standard timeline. So, how long does it take, and what should you do to avoid a hold-up?
Assessing your current situation
Whether buying or selling, getting an accurate financial picture is essential to better decision-making. How much you can afford to put down as a deposit and how much you can borrow determine the type of property you can buy and where. A mortgage agreement-in-principle helps sellers take your offer seriously and allows you to reserve a home on a development. If you are buying a house after selling your property, getting an accurate estimate helps you decide what sort of property you can afford next.
Getting your credit score in line
Improving your credit score before starting your mortgage application process makes you more appealing to lenders. To check your credit score, request a credit report from a credit reference agency like Experian, Equifax or TransUnion (Callcredit). You can also use an intermediary firm such as Noddle or Credit Score. Bad credit mortgages require larger deposits and often come with higher rates. Therefore, settling unpaid debts should be a priority before applying for a mortgage.
Types of mortgages and funding
You may also want to consider the type of mortgage you apply for, whether it is a fixed mortgage or a variable mortguage. Consider any impending interest rate hikes or dips. Sometimes, there are incentives for first-time buyers or new builds. Talk to several lenders and do your research on government-funded schemes.
Setting the asking price
When putting your property on the market, you need to get a clear idea of current market prices for your location. Existing homeowners who put their property up for sale must produce a Home Report. It contains an official property valuation carried out by a chartered surveyor. This value mainly depends on the physical aspect of your home and its structural integrity. However, it may differ from the value determined by an estate agent, who also takes into account the location and market conditions.
New build homes
New builds do not need a Home Report because they are brand new and more energy efficient. Mortgage valuation of new builds takes place off-plan. You can also commission a snagging survey or prepare a snagging list before the completion date. It helps ensure that the property adheres to accepted building standards. But don’t worry! New builds have a 10-year warranty cover that fixes any snags without cost.
Setting a realistic timeline for selling
It can take up to 6 months for a property to sell, from listing to completion. Efficiency and preparedness are key features for a faster closing of a deal. The selling process has many players – the buyer, mortgage lender, solicitor, surveyor, and estate agent. Each has a set of tasks that need to be completed and are usually interconnected and if your buyer is waiting for a purchase to be completed on their side, you also find yourself in a property chain.
Determining the market value of your home
Yes, you can do your part to improve the value of your home, from boosting curb appeal to giving the walls a fresh coat of paint. Before you carry out the Home Report process, do your best to repair and renovate. It will give your property a good score on the report. The more you leave for buyers to do, the lower the asking price will be.
With the help of estate agents and surveyors, you can determine the asking price for your home. If there are steps you can take to increase the value, consider them before listing. Invest the right amount of money that also reflects local property values to get the best price. And once listed, stage the home for viewing. Clean, tidy, and well-presented homes fetch better prices. Add some fresh flowers, de-personalise spaces, declutter, and use brighter, neutral colours that brighten rooms.
Marketing and listing your home
Choose an estate agent that hires professionals for photography and videography. Review their previous listings to check image quality and presentation. It will take 1-2 weeks to prepare, complete and submit the listing to multiple services.
Completing the sale
It can take anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks for completion after accepting an offer. A chain makes the process longer. New builds remove the obstacle of chains as they have no previous owners and are move-in ready after completion.
Establishing a timeline for buying a new home
Spend a generous amount of time researching properties and viable areas you can commute from. You may have instantly found your ideal property, but it doesn’t hurt to do your homework. Cities and central locations are often more expensive than suburbs and the country. Some towns and villages in Scotland have excellent travel links that connect you to the city for a convenient commute. Therefore, keep an open mind and your priorities in order.
Unless it’s an open viewing, you will have to arrange a viewing with the estate agent, who will show you around. New build, which you usually purchase off-plan, employs a different system. You will have access to plans, 3D models and simulations. You also have the opportunity to request changes and upgrades to your home based on the stage of construction. Once the work is complete, the developer will carry out a property demonstration.
If you need proceeds from your existing home’s sale, ensure the sale goes through before missives begin for the new home. Solicitors are unlikely to sign or advise signing missives unless the transaction is complete and funds are received.
Shop around for a mortgage lender suitable to your requirements. Consider your income, interest rates, and deposit requirements. You will also need to factor in paying stamp duty. After you apply for a mortgage agreement in principle, hire a conveyancing solicitor to make formal offers and to carry out the rest of the home-buying process. It can take between 2 to 6 weeks for mortgage approval. Between this time, you should have an offer accepted or reserved a property from a developer.
Funds for the purchase should be in your solicitor’s bank account before the date of entry. If the money for the deposit is in a bank account with a 30-day notice period, you will need to take action to release the funds in good time. Aim to have funds in your solicitor’s account at least 2 working days before settlement. Inform your solicitor if you plan on transferring your mortgage to your new home (porting); they will need to verify the details before the date of entry.
Making an offer or reserving your plot
If you like what you see after viewing the house and reading the Home Report, you can make a formal offer through your solicitor. When several people note their interest, the seller will set a closing date for offers. After this, missives begin and you need to secure a mortgage for conveyancing to go through.
Developers provide you with an Energy Performance Certificate. Home Reports are not necessary for new builds due to not being lived in and their up-to-date standards. You can reserve your property after paying a reservation fee to the developer, which is deductible from the purchase price.
Usually, you have 4 weeks in the reservation period to finalise the contracts. Within 28 days of reserving and exchanging contracts, you must pay the developer a deposit of 10% of the purchase price. Choosing a developer registered with a warranty provider such as NHBC Buildmark ensures protection for your deposit.
The exchange of contracts or missives gets carried out by solicitors for the buyer and seller. Upon the conclusion of missives, you have a legally binding contract.
A mortgage offer is only valid for 6 months from the date of the valuation. Therefore, select a reliable builder who has completed projects on time. For new builds, the period between the exchange of contracts and completion can be a few months.
When buying off-plan, there are two dates provided for completion: an estimated date and a final date that the developer must finish by. Completion day is the date within 10 working days after receiving notice from the developer that the property is complete. It is the final step in the conveyancing process.
Buying with GS Brown
It makes sense that buying a home or selling one isn’t achievable instantly. Big decisions must have processes, especially when they involve the lives and finances of multiple players. It may feel like a lengthy process, but it isn’t, especially if you come prepared. However, at GS Brown, we make it even simpler with support and assistance throughout the process. We have built trust over the years with our many developments. Our homes offer quality, security and energy efficiency for modern living. Covered by NHBC warranty, you have the highest accountability. Call us today and find out more about buying a GS Brown home. How long have you waited for your dream home?