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Understanding The law

Facts to consider:

Questions you should know the answer to:

(1) Do I need to fix the defects in the Home Report?

(2) Do I need to disclose any defects and problems to the seller?

(3) What is the benefit of appointing a solicitor before getting an offer?

(4) What should I not discuss with any potential buyer?


1. Known Defects:

“Do I need to fix the defects in the Home Report?…”

This is a simple one. If the defect(s) are disclosed in a home report the buyer and or the buyers lawyer will look to either get it fixed prior to the move . . . IF it's a real issue which would cause an issue with the purchase, i.e. If the defect stops the buyer getting a mortgage. Yet there are many issues which are not serious and as such were probably taken into account when the valuation was made so in this case you are just wasting money. The true answer is to ask the surveyor or your lawyer.


2. Defects Not Noticed:

“Do I need to disclose ALL defects and problems to the buyer?”

In Scotland the rules are different to England or Wales where the situation is completely different. In England & Wales disclosure is expected. In Scotland it's buyer beware and so the buyer needs to do their own checks and to be honest appoint a property expert. This is set out in the Scottish legal process were the sellers solicitors lets the purchasing lawyer do their own checks. If the purchasers miss an issue and the sellers solicitors then disclose the problem it could be construed as prejudicing their client. It must always be noted that lawyers are not allowed to tell lies to each other so anything you tell your lawyer he is duty bound to tell your lender or other lawyer if asked/or requested. So be careful! The buyer beware process is akin to buying a second hand car you buy what you see 'warts and all'. It's your choice what you disclose and I guess it depends on your own views. If the buyer lawyer is doing their job they should cover all the essential property checks anyway. The buyers lawyer really should know what questions to ask and how to ask them!


3. Why Appoint A Lawyer Early?:

“What is the benefit of appointing a solicitor before getting an offer?”

Always be prepared your before you receive an offer. It takes time and lots of money to find and generate good interest in your property so why not be legally prepared. Being legally prepared before you receive an offer could be the difference between selling or not. we always advise you that everything is in place for your property before you receive your offer to buy. Your legal team should organise your titles, alteration documents, permissions and insurances etc. early. Sometimes (due to defects found in your title deeds or lenders) this can take several weeks. Within 48hrs of any offer you should have your acceptance of the offer along with your titles back to the purchasing solicitor. The bottom line is that it is part of your legal service to get advice to help you prepare for questions from buyers and even the surveyor. Do you know the way to get the best value for your home report? Do you know what to say to the surveyor when he comes to value your property. He has set questions to ask and you best get prepared. If all free so speak as soon as possible and use all the tools open to you.


4. Talking With Buyers:

“What should I not discuss with any potential buyer?”

Negotiation Rules & Styles

(1) Get your timing right. When to market to avoid strong competition.

(2) Keep things friendly BUT play hard ball through your lawyer.

(3) Don’t highlight any negatives to your property, it’s a buyer beware market.

(4) Avoid being extreme and sell the emotional and practical benefits.

(5) Address the purchaser’s barriers to buying, address them directly – never duck away.

(6) If you are keen and in a rush you will get less money.

(7) Use small talk to reinforce the above and softly seek out purchasers weaknesses.

(8) Remember your estate agent has monthly targets, never let them run the show.

(9) Manage the information flow and ALWAYS remember speak to your lawyer.

(10) There is a vast difference between selling and negotiating.


Other Buyers / Sellers :

“…your lawyer should always be independent…”

It's unavoidable, you will come across other people trying to sell similar houses as you and for that matter other people trying to get your property for as little as possible. 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. It's easy to avoid the pointed questions by having to ‘think about things’. It's nice to be helpful but always remember that everyone has their own motives. Your success at getting your ideal price and a reliable buyer tends not to be one others will promote, even your estate agent has his own pressures he may even represent another property the buyer is interested in! Contact a good property lawyer before letting viewer in 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 (especially the estate agent). Lawyers are meant to be independent for a reason. Ask yourself who may have control if the estate agent sends the lawyer 10 clients a week, some may say that they have a certain commercial sway to ensure you take a deal?.

So Remember the 5 KEY FACTS

(i) Always deal direct with those you rely on.

(ii) Never appoint on the basis of price alone.

(iii) Let your lawyer pay hard ball with others.

(iv) Keep negotiation pleasant even if you are getting upset.

(v) Talk with your lawyer before you speak with any estate agent.



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