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A solution to the subject to sale phenomenon

Published: 29/08/2019 Last Updated: 29/08/2019 16:19:58 By: Andrew Diamond Tags: Buying and Selling your Property Marketing

Edinburgh’s housing market, by its very nature, never stands still. As solicitor estate agents, one of our key jobs is to keep that market moving; we sell our clients’ existing homes and help them find their next one. In that endeavour, to put it simply, we want to secure people the best possible sale and purchase prices for their present and future homes and give them a personal service along the way.

Doing this takes experience, and the knowledge that derives from that experience. But buying and selling homes is not our only job. We also have to use that experience and knowledge to monitor the market, look for trends, and make sure that we can predict the impact of those trends for the benefit of our clients.

Trends are nothing new in the market. Anyone north of around 40 years old, who has been moving up the housing ladder throughout the current century, will have experienced a world of ‘offers over’ with no home report valuations; then managed the downturn, or standstill, depending on their postcode; then adapted to home reports and more prevalence of ‘fixed price’ or ‘offers around’; and more recently moved back to ‘offers over’ as the market regained some buoyancy.

But now, as we head into the third decade of this century, something new is happening. In the last couple of years, we have seen an increasing number of purchases being ‘subject to sale’, whereby a buyer places a condition on the purchase that they must sell their own property before the transaction can conclude.

‘Subject to sale’ purchases now comprise a significant minority of our transactions at Lindsays. In response we adopt tailored strategies in order to secure the best deal - whether for a buyer or a seller - by taking into account the likelihood of a problematic sale based on the property’s location, the selling agent, the asking price and so on.

In simple terms, the expansion of ‘subject to sale’ is happening because there is uncertainty in the market over the supply of houses. In this sellers’ market, sellers know they’ll sell, but some are unsure whether they’ll be able to buy what they want, so they simply sit out until the supply increases. This is, of course, a vicious circle, because fewer listings reduces the options for buyers by pushing supply down further.

It is most common amongst families and downsizers, who generally want to move but do not have to move and for whom a sale only works if there is also a purchase. Lack of supply of homes for sale is gumming up the market, particularly for second and third time buyers, and it is likely that the market will react to this one way or another.

But how?

At Lindsays we see the possibility of a new reality entering our lexicon - a sale ‘subject to purchase’. This would be a case of a seller - most obviously a downsizer or a family - listing their property and securing a sale conditional on them making a successful purchase.

In other words, the same people who are placing ‘subject to sale’ conditions on purchases could turn this dynamic on its head and sell their properties ‘subject to purchase’. They will inevitably be more relaxed about selling if they know that they have the safety net of being able to withdraw from the sale if they are unable to find a suitable property to buy.

If others behave in the same way, the vicious circle becomes a virtuous circle. This solution will not be for everyone, and we will still see plenty ‘subject to sale’ purchases, and both sales and purchases unlinked to another transaction.

But for this particular section of the market, stuck by a lack of supply, ‘subject to purchase’ could be the key to unlock the door. 

An extract of the above article appeared in The Scotsman on Thursday 29 August 2019.


How to tell the difference between any estate agent and a great estate agent

Published: 12/06/2019 Last Updated: 12/06/2019 15:18:29 By: Maurice Allan Tags: great estate agentsglasgownegotiationdundeeproperty saleedinburgh

We all think we know what estate agents do. They list the property, take photos and arrange viewings. That’s all true, but a good agent will do much more to get you a great sale

When you sell your home, most agents will do the basics for you: writing the sales text, uploading your home details to the internet, arranging viewings, and reporting offers. It’s the least you can expect, and there are plenty of businesses - online and on the high street – who can do it for you.

All that’s useful of course, but a great agent will do much more than that. As well as helping you get a better price, they’ll take away much of the stress and uncertainty of selling.

  1. They’re proactive with their advice and updates, from the first meeting right through to completion.
  2. They’re responsive to your needs and what’s happening with potential purchasers and market conditions.
  3. They’re expert in tactics around pricing, timing, negotiating and finalising the deal.

This level of service and expertise can lead to a better price and terms. It also helps manage potential issues, such as disappointment around offers that don’t follow through, or delays that could jeopardise your next home purchase. That’s why it’s important to use an agent who’s the real deal.

A great agency adds value throughout the sale by offering the following:

Early stages

  • Valuable tips on dressing or staging the property 
  • Informed advice on sale strategy and pricing, based on the latest market activity 
  • Expert guidance on timing the launch 
  • Professional photographs, floorplans and particulars 

At launch

  • Use of full range of online property platforms 
  • Access to a database of buyers looking for properties like yours

From launch day to moving day

  • Follow-up with prospective purchasers 
  • Regular contact with staff familiar with your sale 
  • Ongoing tactical suggestions on the sale 
  • Advice about timing of closing date 
  • Recommendations on attractiveness and reliability of offers 
  • Skilled negotiation with purchasers to achieve best sale price 
  • Smooth interface with legal team 
  • Advice available on other aspects of moving, from conveyancing to removals

Our property experts have local market knowledge and they understand that every situation is different requiring an individual approach to suit you.

We are delighted to welcome Vhari Selfridge to Lindsays

Published: 21/02/2019 Last Updated: 21/02/2019 16:24:31 By: Tags: ResidentialProperty

Vhari Selfridge has joined our Residential Property team, as a Director. Vhari brings to the team a further 20 years of market knowledge, negotiating experience and conveyancing know-how.

Vhari has wide experience of residential purchases and sales, as well as of dealing with a range of general aspects of residential property work.

Andrew Diamond, Partner and Head of our Residential Property team, commented on the appointment: “We are really pleased to welcome Vhari to our Residential Property team. She has great experience and is a valuable addition to our team. Vhari’s appointment is a testament to our ability to attract practitioners of the highest calibre to join our team. Having skilled and talented people throughout the team is key to our continued ability to deliver exceptional quality of care and outstanding value.”

Vhari added: “I’m very pleased and excited to be joining the firm. I look forward to working with my new colleagues and helping to ensure that our clients continue to enjoy the highest quality of service.”

Cohabitees - whose house is it anyway?

Published: 11/02/2019 Last Updated: 11/02/2019 16:50:36 By: Alison McKee Tags: GlasgowPropertyTimes

This article featured in the Winter edition of the Glasgow Property Times. You can download the full publication here

If you are thinking about buying a house with your partner it’s worth ensuring your interest in the property is protected.

Making the decision to live together is often a milestone decision for a relationship, and on a practical level it is usually more convenient and cheaper than living separately.  More and more couples are choosing to live together before getting married, but what happens if you buy a property and the relationship breaks down?

What rights do cohabitees have?

People often mistakenly believe that their rights as cohabitees are the same as if they were married or that, at the very least, any deposit they pay towards a jointly-owned property will automatically be returned to them should the property need to be sold due to a relationship breakdown.

This is not the case. Unmarried couples have some legal rights if their relationship ends or if one of them dies, but they are very different to those which apply to a married couple and can be difficult and expensive to pursue.  This can often lead to unforeseen problems if a couple decide to break up.

It’s easy to take pre-emptive steps

A simple cohabitation agreement can be put in place by a family law solicitor to set out what should happen if there is a split.  Our family lawyers have helped many clients who choose to put such an agreement in place to provide certainty for clients.  Given the commitment that buying a property involves, it’s a sensible step to consider and one which we regularly provide for our clients at a fixed fee as part of the conveyancing process when buying a new home.

The agreement is bespoke to your particular circumstances and include each partner’s entitlement.  A common arrangement we have assisted with is to agree that if the relationship ends the property will be sold, each partner will get have their initial deposit returned and the balance of the equity will be split equally.  However, it can also be set up to include options to buy each other out, transfer the property to one party or the other and set out the practical mechanism to allow this to happen, or to include any other arrangements that suit your situation.

Another benefit of drawing up a cohabitation agreement is the reassurance for a parent or relative who has contributed to help one party purchase the property that their investment will be protected.

The agreement may also anticipate arrangements for changes such as having children or it can be updated as and when circumstances change.

Pragmatic if not romantic

Drawing up a cohabitation agreement may not seem like the most romantic of steps for a couple moving in together. But neither are most arrangements around finances, mortgage payments, and what happens if someone leaves or dies.  Making sure you both understand what would happen in the event the relationship came to an end can avoid potentially difficult and costly disputes down the line.

Many cohabitees don’t think of making such an agreement themselves, or are shy or uncomfortable about suggesting one. In that case, a nudge from a third party – parent, relative, friend or adviser – can be helpful.

Lindsays can provide both the residential conveyancing services and family law advice required when buying your property and this can be offered at a fixed fee. 

Good advice can turn a sale into a great sale

Published: 1/01/2019 Last Updated: 4/01/2019 12:08:44 By: Maurice Allan Tags:

With strong demand for Edinburgh property, it’s a great time to sell. Here’s how to ride the wave of the surging property market.

The latest UK Cities House Price Index shone the spotlight on Edinburgh’s dynamic property market, with prices rising faster than in any other UK city. Latest data from the ESPC echoes this, with strong demand across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Many people will tell you that in a sellers’ market like this, your home will ‘sell itself’. But not every sale is the same.

Recent research from the ESPC, based on sales in Edinburgh and the Lothians, has shown that selling through an ESPC solicitor agent can net you thousands of pounds more than selling through a non-ESPC agent. On average ESPC agents achieved 106% of their Home Report valuation, while non-ESPC agents achieved 103%.

On top of that, sellers through Lindsays routinely achieve even higher percentages over the Home Report valuation than the ESPC average.  Every year since 2013 (stats for previous years aren’t available) the average percentage over the HR value achieved by Lindsays clients has exceeded the ESPC average. 2018 has been no different.

Selling through a solicitor such as Lindsays carries other benefits too. An attraction for many sellers is the fact we have a conveyancing team under the same roof as our estate agency team.

As soon as we know you want to sell, we can set the ball rolling on the legal paperwork. This means we know in advance whether there may be any bumps in the road in terms of title deeds or other documentation, and we can sort them out quickly – avoiding delays, expense or even a lost sale later on.

We can also help you negotiate on your next property, getting the best possible price and purchase conditions – helping ensure that, as a buyer too, you’re best placed to navigate the seller’s market, where demand is outstripping the supply of properties coming onto the market.

Lothian hotspots

Right across Edinburgh and Lothians, we’re seeing strong demand and good sale prices. But demand for some certain areas and types of property is especially strong, according to ESPC data and our own experience.

Examples include:

  • one-bedroom flats and other ‘starter’ properties have been in high demand across areas such as Shandon, Dalry, Tollcross and Leith – driven not only by first-time-buyer demand but by buy-to-let and Airbnb rentals
  • family homes in good areas and near popular schools continue to attract high demand and command good prices. And as prices and lack of supply persuade families to look further afield for more space, prices of family homes are rising around the City Bypass and South Queensferry too.

A bit of preparation can help avoid delays when selling

Published: 1/01/2019 Last Updated: 4/01/2019 12:13:23 By: Heather Auld Tags: #prepareforsale

With a fast-moving market, this is the perfect time to sell your property. Stories are being traded between estate agents and solicitors alike of offers being accepted at 15% or more in excess of Home Report value - and all this against the Brexit backdrop.

In such a dynamic market, being prepared could make the difference between losing or securing a sale and so here is my guide to the organisational must-dos if you are considering selling your property.

Papers, papers, papers

It is said that lawyers love nothing more than paperwork and I have to say that this remains the case in conveyancing (despite Lindsays going “paper light” over the last couple of months!). Your property is, ultimately, a second hand item which, to a certain extent, is sold as seen but there are a couple of matters which must be in good order when you come to sell the property.

Building work consents

One of the most common reasons for a delay in a sale transaction is missing consents for structural alterations. As a general rule, you should be able to exhibit a building warrant, completion certificate and, ideally, approved plans, for all structural alterations which have been carried out to the property within the last 20 years.

However, if the paperwork does not exist, let your solicitor know as soon as possible. There are a number of ways to remedy the situation so all is not lost and the more time your solicitor has to deal with matters, the less likely your settlement day will be delayed leaving all parties unhappy.

Specialist works guarantees

Similarly, if you have had any specialist works carried out to your property such as: treatment for dry rot; damp; or cavity wall insulation for example, you should ingather the guarantees you received when the work was completed.  Then pass these to your solicitor as early in the sale process as possible.

Locate your title deeds

Finally, do you know where your title deeds are?

If you have a mortgage over the property, the likelihood is that these will be with your mortgage lender. However they could be with a firm of solicitors, in a filing cabinet at home, under your bed…

If the title deeds are with the mortgage lender, your solicitor will need a note of your lender’s details and account number to order these for you. Again, the sooner these are requested the better. It is not uncommon for some lenders to take several weeks to issue the deeds.

Fortunately, Glasgow was one of the first areas to register property in the Land Register and so, often, a solicitor can download a copy of the main title deed while the principal deeds are awaited.

These are my top tips on how to avoid delays in your property sale. Of course, some delays are outwith your control; but with a seller and a solicitor who are both on top of matters from the outset, it is remarkable what can be achieved.

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: buying propertyDundee propertyDundeeTayside

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.

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