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An overview of the basics.

Like most things in life you can try and understand the whole process yourself or you can rely on help from others. In truth we tend to do a bit of both, but the real issues are won or lost on the accuracy of the information that we rely on. The main services that you will have to deal with are as follows;

1. Estate Agents: “who do they work for…”

Paid to be friendly and helpful but you must consider who they really work for, you or the seller? Paid by commission on the value you offer, the higher the offer the more they make. What makes the price increase? Pitching one buyer off against another; setting closing dates; the use of enthusiastic buyers vs some buyers who may not even put an offer in. One fact is true the more you openly love the property, the more you let the estate agent know what your budget is and the more you will therefore pay. Always remember that thousands of pounds will be saved or overpaid dependent on the nature of your relationship with the sellers estate agent. That’s right, its the sellers agent NOT yours. Also remember that they do this on a daily basis you don’t. We always advise that you avoid doing the negotiations yourself but leave this to your representatives, your lawyers. They will no doubt do this on a daily basis. The fact remains that the use of an EXPERT property lawyer at this stage can save you thousands of pounds and in a way pay for your legal costs.

2. Lawyers: “…what do I need a lawyer for?”

Appointing a solicitor is never easy as you have a huge variety to choose from. What should I look for? This is where we may seem controversial, yet ask yourself what do I need a lawyer for, what is the real purpose? Your lawyer is there to do more that give you cheap fee. They are there to ensure that when you spend epic money you are protected and your investment is ‘as safe as houses’. Like any other good professional, some are more focused in a particular area. Some are keener to ask the difficult questions, some will negotiate with a sharper focus from day one. Again remember saving a few thousand pounds at negotiation stage far outstrips any legal fee. Asking the right questions in this buyer beware process can save you thousands of pounds when you come to sell. Our advice is spend less time questioning the fee and consider asking questions about the service, the help and the proven track record. Who will look after your investment best? More is at stake than a saving of a few pounds.

3. Surveyors : “…look beyond the paper report.”

Like most contracts you enter there are caveats. Sometimes its not very clear who the surveyor is really working for, consider the commercial loyalties. Were they appointed by you? Were they appointed by your bank, the seller, Estate Agent (who acts for the seller) or your financial adviser. Did you pay them direct or through another (added to your financial product). Independent professional advice is a must when buying. Always remember that there are huge commercial pressures at play here and it wouldn’t be the first time things are missed. To keep you straight you must always deal direct with the surveyor or for that matter any other party. When checking the property do more than a cursory glance, look for signs of damp, water damage, cracks, ask about alterations and then challenge your surveyor about his findings, look beyond the paper report. Call the surveyor!

4. Banks : “…never assume things are in progress…”

We all have heard the stories about how hard it is to get funding to buy a property. In this regard we always advise clients to stay on top of the lending process NEVER assume that things are in progress. The banks will obtain reports , deeds, documents, ask your lawyer to report on matters and they may even appoint their own surveyor or lawyers. So always take it that until you have your loan paper in your or your lawyers hands that is not agreed. To aid the progress return all the documents and deeds as fast a possible and ALWAYS call to ensure that they have them. Again never assume that things are in hand. Its now about outsourced mail rooms, changing teams, 48hr scanning and call centers. Long gone are the days of dealing with your local branch. In may cases your own branch or financial adviser has not power to give you accurate advice once the process starts. Unfortunately computers were meant to streamline services but in this case they may not have. Our advice is keep pushing and checking (in a friendly way) , never assume that things are progressing and keep your lawyer up to date about the progress.

5. Other Buyers / Sellers : “…your lawyer should always be independent…”

Its unavoidable, you will come across other people trying to buy the same house as you and for that matter other people trying to get as much for their property. Always remember to keep your ‘cards close’. Remember that your lawyers can always do the hard negotiations to help diffuse any awkward face to face conflicts. Its easy to avoid the pointed questions by having to ‘think about things’. Its nice to be helpful but always remember that everyone has their own motives and your success at getting your ideal property for a good price tends not to be one others will promote. Contact your lawyers before even going to view your first property or talking to an estate agent. Unfortunately many people will have a chat with an estate agent to start with, worse still they may even use the Lawyer that the estate agent points them towards! A good lawyer is your best ally, your lawyer should always be independent from others and you should always have a chat with them BEFORE YOU START.

When Buying – A Check List

Our checklist has both serious and lighter notes to it. It’s no secret that moving home can be a challenge, but remember that you’ll most likely only do this a few times in your lifetime. For many people a house is a home with many memories. It is important that on your moving day you try to take time to enjoy the moment and the excitement of such a big event. You’ll be busy, but that’s the nature of a home move!

Remember the Small Print In Your Mortgage…. If In Doubt Ask Us.

Organise your survey and mortgage; Contact Conveyancing Lawyers for your solicitor; Organise your removal specialists; Calculate your deposit and have it ready; Arrange buildings insurance for your new home; Check out the utility suppliers; Work out the stamp duty if applicable; Enroll the kids at school if moving far afield; Arrange your new doctor and dentist; and Have a takeaway number ready for your first meal while unpacking!

LOOKING FOR A PROPERTY? - It may seem obvious, but there is a lot to consider: the area you want to buy in; the space you’ll need to live in; the price of property that you can afford; the condition of properties you are happy with – the list goes on. So, where to start? Many people look at online estate agency portals these days. The days of print are diminishing and there are many free to use online brands who offer a wide variety of property options when it comes to buying property. You can refine your search parameters to only include properties that might be of interest to you. You can also sign up to mailing lists where you will receive emails about properties that are new to the market that suit your needs.

WHAT'S IT WORTH - The magic question. The value of any property is what someone will pay for it. That may sound fluffy, so here are some suggestions as to help you figure out what it’s worth to you. Make sure you obtain a copy of the Home Report for any property you like the look of. This will be available through the marketing estate agent. The Home Report will give you a ballpark valuation and indication of what the property is worth taking account of location, size and condition. View the property. Always do this as it will help you make up your own mind as to how you feel about it. You may only live in the property for a short while or maybe for the rest of your life, but the value is at least partly pegged to your own expectations. Consider whether the property is in a locale that would enable you to sell at least at market price, should you wish to at some point in the future. Be level headed. Just because you think you love it, it doesn’t mean everyone else will. You’re spending a lot of money so you’ll at least want to know that you’ll get it back if you sell.

TYPES OF OFFER - he type of offer you make for a property will often depend on the way it is marketed. The most common methods are ‘offers over’, ‘fixed price’ and ‘offers around’. By knowing what the seller hopes to achieve, you can better fine tune your offer strategy. ‘Offers over’ usually is the first pitch at a newly listed property and indicates that the seller and their agent are confident of an offer in excess of the price. Whether they achieve this or not is another matter. The remaining two tend to reflect a more agreeable and negotiable position. They are often where the seller is looking for a quick sale or has been struggling to generate enough interest.

MORTGAGES - Mortgage lending is a competitive business. There are many deals out there and you should shop around. You can either go directly to the lenders or go through an intermediary called a mortgage broker. The advantage of an mortgage broker is that they should be able to offer you an enhanced choice of lenders. Beware of excessive fees. If using a mortgage broker, make sure that they are fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and ask what they charge for their service. Some mortgage brokers will not charge a fee for their services as they will receive payment from the mortgage lender for selling the product. Also be aware that often mortgage brokers may have associations with legal firms and may recommend their services. This is rarely a free of charge service and may result in you paying higher costs than if you went direct.

WHEN YOUR READY TO OFFER - You may end up offering for more than one property, especially where there is a lot of interest in the properties you like. Don’t become disillusioned! You’ll need a solicitor to make a formal offer for you and if you need to do this more than once, you don’t want to end up with large legal bills before you’ve even had a successful offer accepted. At Hayes-Bower Conveyancing, we’ll make sure that each offer is free of charge until we help you offer for, and eventually buy your chosen home. It’s very important to make sure that your mortgage lending is in place as it can take some time for your lender to complete the required documentation and issue your offer of loan. Delay equals expense – so be organised.

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From when you decide to Sell, Purchase, Tranfer or Re Finance your property, we are here to help. We have a proven track record for over 10 Years in Scottish property (Residential and Commercial) of helping save thousands of pounds. From help to appoint an Estate Agent, Negotiation Tips, Legal Guides and practical advice. Just drop us an email or phone or if easier read through our extensive Online Guides.


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Knowing & Asking Is Always Better Than Assuming What Is Happening.


Assumptions create 70% of all conveyancing stress and issues. We make assumptions every minute of every day. Something happens and we instantly assign meaning to it. That is an assumption. Yet conveyancing and the residential legal system in Scotland is constantly changing and so does what your solicitor is reqired by law to do and what is required of you. We start imagining and reasoning what is going on, we look at social media and ask friends, what they think, what they experienced. We rationalise an entire assumed story based on assumptions and we believe it. One assumption leads to another assumption; we jump to conclusions and we take it personally. Almost all conflicts and desisions we take are based on assumptions. Assumptions are nothing more than false stories that we are telling ourselves. They create a big drama for no reason because they aren’t based on fact. If you really want to avoid the stress of moving, ensure that your experience is a possitive one and you are informed, why not just ask your property solicitor?

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