Before you make an offer on any property you need to make sure you can get a mortgage – this is where AMS can help as we can secure you a Decision in Principle in an hour or less.
Once you have decided you like a property you will need to make an offer to the seller. They will have already stated what their ‘asking price’ is but, generally speaking, will expect to negotiate this with any potential buyer. There are, however, many factors that dictate how this may proceed including:
- the prevailing market conditions at the time of the transaction
- how much other interest there is in the property
- the condition of the property
- and, of course, how much you want to pay!
Offers are generally made through the Estate Agent who will confirm the seller’s response in writing. There is NO legal obligation at this point for the seller to complete the purchase – this is only the case once contracts have been exchanged. Until then either party can withdraw from the transaction.
It is possible that your vendor can abandon the process if a higher offer is made even after your offer is accepted. This is known as ‘gazumping’. There are rules under Scottish law whereby dates are agreed after which no further offers will be accepted and the successful offer is confirmed in writing. If this is not adhered to the acting solicitor can, potentially, be charged with misconduct and is likely therefore to withdraw their services rather than risk this happening. Whilst a new solicitor could take over this is unlikely to happen.
Valuing the property
The lender will need to know that the property is worth what you are paying for it before they will loan you the money. They will instruct a surveyor to value the property for mortgage purposes. If you have any concerns and/or want a more comprehensive survey than the basic one ordered by the lender we can help you to decide what to choose. There are two more, in-depth, types of survey that you can obtain. These are:
Home Buyers Report
Whilst a Home Buyers Report is more detailed than a basic survey, the surveyor will only inspect what is clearly visible or easy to access. If he feels there are issues that need to be investigated (eg timber and damp, or structural issues), he will point this out in his valuation report. The lender may require a further report focussing on the problem that’s been highlighted.
Full Structural Survey
This type of survey looks for serious structural faults such as subsidence or serious damp. If you have observed anything whilst viewing the property that causes you concern do point this out so that the surveyor can address it. If it transpires that there are serious faults with the property you have the right to withdraw your offer, or you may wish to reduce your offer accordingly if it can be resolved but at a cost.
Do bear in mind that there may be a situation whereby you have to pay for more than one survey eg if you decide the property is not worth the asking price, if someone puts in a higher offer, or if the buyer withdraws from the sale. Try to factor this into your budget – just in case!