As featured in the Metro on 22 April, 2015
The Edinburgh property market, like others is experiencing a shortage in the number of properties coming up for sale.
Of those that do come on the market, they either sell before a buyer gets a chance to do anything or sells without going to a closing date and giving buyers the same fair chance of offering.
We have some real hotspots in Edinburgh at the moment where properties are selling for well above the home report valuation. Great news for sellers, but not such good news for buyers trying to get on the property ladder.
So what can buyers do? First and most importantly engage a Solicitor who is going to guide you through the process and be on hand to take instructions at short notice.
The market can move very fast and if you view a property you like, you should immediately contact your Solicitor to formally note your interest, he/she can then discuss whether you want to go straight in with an offer or not. It may sound obvious but a call gives you an instant response, as opposed to whizzing off an email.
A common misconception is that when a buyer notes interest, it means that the property will go to a closing date. Not the case! Where there are 2 or more formal notes of interest the seller can go to a closing date, but they are not obliged to. However once a closing date has been fixed the general rule is they have to go ahead with the process and can't accept an offer before the closing date.
In market ‘hotspots’ properties sell very quickly without buyers being given the change to offer at a closing date. This usually occurs where the seller has been offered a figure they can't refuse and is unlikely to be exceeded at a closing date.
Another misconception is you can view a property after you have offered. Whilst tempting to just offer for a property without seeing it (you would be surprised how often this happens) the general rule is once you offer and it has been verbally accepted, you are not afforded further access to view until the legal contract has been completed.
Closing dates, give buyers sleepless nights and ultimately is a bit of a lottery. I’ve recently seen 29 notes of interest in a two bed flat in Edinburgh. Whilst that is an exception, it's still not easy when trying to guide clients as to what to offer, especially when emotions are running high!
The tricky question from buyers is what percentage over the asking price should they put in? The answer is not an exact science as it is dependent on where, what the valuation is, what the Home Report says, how long it has been on the market and who is selling it.
However taking all things into account, at a closing date buyers can only offer what they can afford and what they feel the property is worth. It only takes on person at a closing date who has cash to throw at it to secure the property and no-one can't compete with that.
Primarily driven by price, if a property goes to a closing date then the market is dictating there is a demand for that property and saying the successful buyer will have to offer a premium to secure it.
With arguably one of life’s biggest purchases, seeking expert legal advice is paramount and to make the process work as quickly as possible, ensure they are geared up and ready to act in your best interests.