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Five things not to forget when you move home

Published: 31/05/2018 Last Updated: 31/05/2018 15:31:49 By: Joy Stapley Tags: #movinghome

Moving home can often be a stressful time, from securing the house of your dreams to the reality of packing up your belongings, and remembering to update your new address. There are often things that slip through the net when you’ve settled into your new home and could be costly if forgotten about.

We’ve moved
Most of us remember to tell our utility providers when we move, but forget a host of other contacts, especially ones we deal with online or only occasionally. The most commonly forgotten are usually pension and insurance providers, National Insurance, HMRC, banks, employers, schools, doctors and other parts of the NHS, and any clubs you belong to.

Don’t pay for things you no longer need
If you’re moving away, you won’t want to pay for old parking permits, gym membership, and the like, so be sure to check cancellation terms and stop direct debits.

Don’t fill someone else’s fridge
The first time you do an online supermarket shop or Amazon order in your new home remember to change your default address. Otherwise, you may gift your buyers your weekly shop, new pair of trainers, or case of wine.

Be smart about smart appliances
If your new home has web-based security systems or app-controlled smart products, ask the previous owners to remove apps and log-ins. You don’t want their phones to control your central heating! If you’re the seller of a smart home, be sure to log out when you leave.

Change the locks
The sellers may be 100% trustworthy, but who else may have keys to your new home? A dog walker, gardener, cleaner, neighbour, or sundry relatives may also have a key long forgotten about, so it may be worth starting afresh with new locks.

If you’d like other practical tips on buying, selling or moving, our Residential Property team would be happy to help.

Ready to enjoy some sunshine in the property market?

Published: 12/04/2018 Last Updated: 31/05/2018 15:29:50 By: Heather Mackay Tags:

Spring came early to the property market this year. Buyers and sellers are feeling the warmth, and a good conveyancing solicitor could set you up nicely for a summer move

Closing dates on sales have been coming thick and fast in the first three months of 2018. This is earlier in the year than traditionally expected, and a sign that spring has come early in Glasgow.

Another sign of early spring comes from sales figures for flats – a good indicator of the property market in Glasgow. Not only were winter volumes higher than 12 months earlier, but they were up on summer/autumn 2017 volumes too.

When the property market is moving fast, you want a solicitor ready to move quickly. Someone who knows the market and who won’t blind you with jargon or drag their feet.

So, what is really behind the jargon? The first step for your solicitor when you find a property you like is to note interest, and, when the time is right, put in an offer. They can advise you what price to offer, whether to make your offer subject to survey, and whether to include any moveable items (eg carpets and curtains). Good advice here may save you significant amounts of money.

If your offer is accepted, the solicitor will negotiate the terms of the ‘missives’ (the sale contract). Only when these are concluded is the contract legally binding. Next step is for the solicitor to check the ‘seller’s title’, and a few other aspects such as whether any alterations have the necessary local authority consents.

The solicitors will then draw up a ‘conveyance’ (ie the legal documentation that transfers ownership of the property), and handle any security paperwork with your mortgage lender. This will make sure that mortgage funds for the property are released at the right time.

And now we reach D day, the date of entry, when financial transactions are completed and loan funds transferred. Your solicitor will receive all relevant paperwork, such as the title deeds (that show you own the property). The keys, the property, and possibly the carpets and curtains too will be yours.

If you’d like more advice about buying or selling a property, we’d be delighted to help. We’ll do everything possible to avoid jargon, avoid unnecessary delays, and make the conveyancing process a walk in the park.

Selling your property the modern way

Published: 5/02/2018 Last Updated: 31/05/2018 15:30:07 By: Maurice Allan Tags:

Technology has opened up amazing possibilities when it comes to buying and selling houses

Digital technology, video, smartphones, apps and the Internet have transformed the way people market their property or search for a new home. 

Slideshows, video and floorplans offer wonderful opportunities for showcasing property at its best, and potential buyers from all over the world can ‘view’ property virtually.

As a result, we now see people buy or rent property purely on the basis of video, Facetime tours and Google Streetview, without even physically seeing it.

However, the rise of online tools and agencies has not removed the value of traditional estate agency skills. It’s as important as ever to get good advice on when is the best time to put a home on the market, and at what price; or when to accept an offer and when to hold out for a better one.

Also key to a successful sale is putting a home in front of the right people – as opposed to lots of the wrong people. 

We saw a recent example of this in Central Edinburgh, where a flat had been marketed solely via an online platform, and attracted just two viewers.

The sellers then opted for a more ‘traditional’ approach, including putting it on the ESPC website as well as other online property portals. The flat attracted 19 viewers in a single weekend, and was sold after two days for 5 per cent over the asking price. 

With 85% of buyers of Edinburgh property saying they used an ESPC channel to find their new home, and 64% of buyers saying they used an ESPC channel first to find their home, it’s clear that buying and selling through legal firms retains its attraction.

In other regions too, legal firms maintain their popularity with buyers and sellers. For example, nearly 7.5 million property pages were viewed on the TSPC website during January-September 2017. 

If you’re thinking of selling or buying this winter, modern digital and online tools will certainly ease your task. But so too will ‘old-fashioned’ aids like local knowledge and contacts. Put together, they’re a powerful combination.

Demand for Dundee property remains strong

Published: 15/09/2017 Last Updated: 15/09/2017 13:55:42 By: Chris Todd Tags: DundeeTaysidebuying propertyDundee property

Dundee’s housing market has been active throughout 2017. With demand still outstripping supply, it’s a good market for sellers. Because of this, we’re seeing more sellers setting closing dates – a trend that’s also apparent in strong markets such as Edinburgh.

The market is very active in the usual hotspots of the West End and Broughty Ferry, but also in more affordable areas such as St Marys, Douglas, Downfield and Brackens.

Over the past 12 months, average prices in Dundee have risen 2.4%, according to the latest available Registers of Scotland (RoS) figures, published in July 2017. So it seems that events in the wider world – from Brexit to June’s general election – are not denting prices or confidence.


Our own experience is that buyers and sellers in Dundee, and beyond, have a ‘just get on with life’ mentality. Since the 2008 credit crunch, the market is used to operating in an unpredictable political and economic landscape, so Brexit and the UK election just come as ‘more of the same’.

This is reassuring for both sellers and buyers. It is also encouraging to see that interest rates are predicted to remain low as this will help to keep the marketplace in Dundee and surrounding areas active as we move into autumn.

If you’re thinking of selling this autumn, professional advice and market knowledge will help you achieve a good price and good sale conditions, and make the most of the demand for property in Dundee.

Sellers’ market shows no sign of slowing

Published: 8/09/2017 Last Updated: 8/09/2017 10:33:47 By: Maurice Allan Tags:

The Edinburgh housing market in 2017 has been characterised by a lack of stock. The number of homes brought to market in April-June is down almost 6% on the same period last year, according to a recent ESPC report.

This is positive news for sellers, creating a market where prices exceed expectations. ESPC figures show that east central Scotland properties marketed as “Offers Over” achieved an average of almost 10% over the asking price during April- June – higher than a year ago.

The figures also show average selling prices in east central Scotland up more than 5% compared with 12 months previously.

The shortages of stock and competitive market have enabled Edinburgh to buck the wider UK trend on residential property prices.

According to Zoopla, most UK cities have seen a lack of house price growth compared with June 2016. Only a handful of cities have resisted the trend, and Edinburgh has done so convincingly – Zoopla’s figures show house price growth here has bounced from 1.8% a year ago to 6.5% today.

As we look forward to the autumn market, we predict more of the same. With a large number of active buyers prepared to pay a premium for the right property, we anticipate that the current sellers’ market will continue in the short to medium term.

This means now is an ideal time for potential sellers to prepare for a sale. 

Tayside has a spring in its step

Published: 19/06/2017 Last Updated: 19/06/2017 13:04:26 By: Angela Morrison Tags: DundeeTaysidebuying propertyDundee property

The residential property market in Dundee and Tayside continues to benefit from the regeneration effect. Demand is buoyant across the region, and there is steady price growth in all areas. The market appears unaffected by Brexit and other political uncertainties.

The healthy property market in Tayside has led to fewer properties being offered at a fixed price, and more ‘offers over’ sales. In some cases, sales are either being agreed quickly or are being sold following a closing date.

Another change from the past few years, is we are seeing a few offers ‘subject to sale’ being agreed. These are most likely to be accepted when the prospective purchaser is selling a property in a much sought-after location.

Demand continues to outstrip supply in the usual hotspots around Tayside: the West End, Broughty Ferry, Monifieth, and Carnoustie. The turnaround time from when a property is placed on the market for sale until it has been marked as sold has reduced.

Other properties proving popular are former local authority properties, which offer excellent and affordable family accommodation. Several properties of this type have recently attracted numerous notes of interest, and have achieved well in excess of the Home Report valuation at closing dates.

In addition, the change to Land & Building Transaction Tax (LBTT) rates is supporting sub-£400,000 sales as the tax rates payable by the purchaser have been reduced. Looking forward to the next few months, we expect robust demand to persist around Tayside. Regeneration in the area and low interest rates should support all categories of the market, as should the affordability of Dundee compared to cities such as Edinburgh, Stirling and Perth.

The sellers’ market rolls on

Published: 1/06/2017 Last Updated: 1/06/2017 12:06:18 By: Maurice Allan Tags: Edinburgh property

Robust demand for property in Edinburgh and East Central Scotland shows no sign of abating.


Homeowners in Edinburgh and the Lothians are seeing strong prices and quick sales as the sellers’ market continues. Brexit and talk of another independence referendum don’t appear to be dampening the residential property market.

Sales volumes are around 10% down on this time last year, but the drop is not due to low demand. Far from it. Rather, it’s due to less properties coming onto the market and as a result, demand is outstripping supply.

For those with a property to sell, the trend has been beneficial: in the first quarter, average prices across East Central Scotland were up by almost 6% to £217,455. The median selling time fell from 41 days in the first quarter of 2016 to 29 days a year later.

The sellers’ market is especially evident in Edinburgh’s city centre, and looks set to persist. Hotspots include Merchiston, Morningside, the Grange, the New Town and Stockbridge, where desirable properties are likely to receive multiple notes of interest and competitive offers well above the Home Report valuation.

Median selling time in Edinburgh was just 24 days in the first quarter, and closing dates remain popular as a means to drive up the sale price.

This is good news for sellers, less so for buyers. However, given that much of the demand is focused on three-bedroom houses and second homes, the prospects for first-time buyers have slightly improved.

At all levels of the market, good advice about buying tactics can help buyers navigate the competitive marketplace.

Source for figures: ESPC

New Home Builders Consumer Code benefits purchasers and developers

Published: 1/06/2017 Last Updated: 1/06/2017 15:28:21 By: Alison Mackay Tags: new build

Since April 2017 all registered builders or developers of new or newly converted homes for sale to the public are required to comply with the updated Consumer Code for Home Builders (the Code).

The Code, which was first introduced in 2010, was developed to improve consumer satisfaction in the homebuilding industry and give the purchaser more consumer protection.  It aims to ensure that all buyers are treated fairly, know what service levels to expect, are given reliable information upon which to make their decisions and are provided with a quick, low cost dispute resolution scheme to deal with complaints.

The Code applies to reservations of new or newly converted homes on or after 1 April 2017 and to homebuilders and agents who are registered with a Home Warranty Body – that is an organisation maintaining a register of builders, providing home warranty cover and supporting the Code, the largest of which is NHBC.

What do I need to know about ensuring compliance with the Code?

Three different stages of the home buying process are affected by the Code - pre-purchase, exchange of contracts and after sales. And nineteen mandatory Requirements must be followed to ensure compliance.

New definitions of “customer” and “home buyer” - a customer is a person who makes enquiries about buying a home but who has not reserved a home, whereas the latter has reserved or goes on to buy a home.

Raising awareness of the Code – the scheme logo must be prominently displayed in the homebuilders’ and agents’ sales offices and in sales brochures. Previously a copy of the Code had only to be provided to customers who asked for it, now all home buyers must be given a copy of the Code and Code scheme documents with the reservation agreement.

Restrictions on choice of advisor removed – homebuilders may offer incentives and/or refer home buyers to a panel of solicitors but they can no longer restrict their choice of legal representative, financial advisor or mortgage intermediary.

Opportunity to investigate and rectify issues - before a complaint can be made under the dispute resolution scheme the home buyer must give the homebuilder an opportunity to investigate and rectify the problem. The timescales within which a home buyer can raise a complaint have been changed. A complaint under the dispute resolution scheme cannot be brought before 56 calendar days have passed since it was first raised with the homebuilder and no later than 12 months after the homebuilder’s final response. The maximum award for inconvenience which can be made by an adjudicator under the dispute resolution scheme has been increased from £250 to £500. This only applies where there has been a breach of the Code and will not be awarded for emotional upset and stress as awards will be judged as a matter of fact.

Excluded properties - the Code does not apply to second hand properties, properties acquired by registered social landlords for rent, or investors or individuals who buy more than one property on the same development for investment purposes.

There will be a three month implementation period until 30 June 2017 to allow homebuilders and agents time to comply with the Code and its Requirements.  If a homebuilder is found to be in breach of the Code, Home Warranty Bodies can apply a range of sanctions.

If you require further information in relation to the Code please see contact details here

Shared equity scheme to help first-time buyers get onto the property ladder

Published: 18/05/2017 Last Updated: 18/05/2017 14:30:31 By: Alison Mackay Tags: shared equityfirst time buyer

If you are having problems getting onto the property ladder it may be that the Scottish government’s “Golden Share” scheme could help. 

The Golden Share scheme is one of a range of affordable housing schemes designed to help first time buyers who wish to own their own home but who cannot afford to pay the full price for a house.

It is part of the “shared equity” type scheme which means that the Scottish government or local authority keeps a financial stake in the property so you do not have to fund it all. You will pay for the majority share in the property and the Scottish government/local authority will hold the remaining share under a Minute of Agreement which they will enter into with you.

The sales process is similar to a standard house sale but the property price is capped at 80% of open market value for all future re-sales. A purchaser must show that he/she is eligible in order to qualify for the scheme and it must be his or her sole and primary residence.

We have acted in a number of these specialised purchases and would be delighted to answer any queries you may have.

Rich choices in Scottish new-build

Published: 17/05/2017 Last Updated: 17/05/2017 16:11:29 By: Derek Petrie Tags: new build

New Homes Week is taking place this week and aims to explore the reasons why buying a new build may be the right choice for you.

If you have you ever dreamt of a home where you don’t have to cover up someone else’s paint or wallpaper experiment and which meets the latest building specification then a new-build property could well be your dream come true. Especially given the rich choice of new-build homes of all sizes in and around Edinburgh and the Central belt as well as in Dundee and beyond.

Other attractions of buying new-build property include a 10-year warranty from the likes of National House Building Council (NHBC) covering structural defects.

You may also be able to benefit from incentives such as part-exchange, or help with legal fees and/or LBTT.

If you do fancy buying a new-build property, you should familiarize yourself with the cons as well as the pros:

  • Understand the new-build timetable – you may only have 28 days between paying a reservation fee and exchanging contracts.
  • Be flexible over your entry date. If there are construction delays, you may need alternative accommodation until your new home is ready.
  • Get a snagging survey to check for defects in the completed property and have them remedied.
  • Bear in mind that new-build properties may have less space than period properties.

The most passionate advocates of new-build vs period property are never going to agree about which is best, but for most of us, there are excellent benefits for both.

The main thing is to be open to the property – whether new or old – that fits your budget, timing, location and space requirements. With so much development activity taking off around Scotland, a new-build home could well tick every box.

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