The myth: “It’s best to move on a Friday”
The facts: Actually it’s not. Unless the logistics of work and family life mean Friday suits you best, it can actually save you money to move earlier in the week. Because demand for home removals is so high on Friday, prices are often adjusted upwards accordingly for Friday and Saturday move dates. If you can be flexible with regards to your move day then it might be prudent to look into removal firms’ pricing structures before committing.
The myth: “The Home Report only lasts three months”
The facts: A Home Report prepared by a chartered surveyor has no shelf life. The report remains live until the property is sold or taken off the market, or the report is replaced at the request of the seller. The myth has arisen due to the mortgage lenders’ requirement that any lending decision must be based on a surveyor’s valuation report that’s less than three months old. This has been a traditional requirement as three months takes a property from one season to the next, a factor that might significantly impact on its condition, potentially leading to the valuation figure moving up or down dramatically within this time scale. The associated mortgage application can therefore be affected.
The myth: “The seller must replace a Home Report that’s more than three months old if the purchaser requests it”
The facts: It should be noted that, whilst it might be common practice and advisable in the current market, the seller is under no legal obligation to obtain a replacement Home Report for a purchaser or their lender.
The myth: “I found a problem when I moved into my new home and the builder says I can sue the surveyor”
The facts: Buying a new home is stressful at the best of times, but if you move in and find problems which mean the property doesn’t live up to its “dream home” image, your stress will only multiply. The instinctive response is often “someone should’ve warned me, someone‘s to blame”. If the builder says that the problem’s obvious and the surveyor should’ve mentioned it in his report, emotions can overflow.
I would caution that whilst surveyors can and do make mistakes, there are an endless number of potentially genuine reasons why the surveyor hasn’t mentioned problems, including:
- It’s a new defect or hadn’t manifested itself at the time of the inspection
- The surveyor wasn’t given access to the affected area and therefore couldn’t have seen it
- The issue in question didn’t fall under the remit of the report
- It was hidden by the seller
- The level of inspection/report requested didn’t go into significant enough depth to cover the defect.
The surveyor is after all working to specific criteria and their report can never be assumed to be a guarantee that the property is defect free.
The myth: “I won’t need to pay for a survey because the lender will rely on the Home Report”
The facts: This isn’t necessarily the case. If the surveyor who carried out the original survey isn’t on your lender’s panel of approved surveyors, the lender will insist on instructing a surveyor of their choice – and it’ll be the purchaser who has to pay the cost of obtaining the new survey report.
The myth: “In Scotland there’s a binding contract as soon as an offer has been submitted“
The facts: Many clients are still under the impression that, once the price and date of entry have been agreed between the solicitors or the individuals themselves, this is a binding contract. There is no binding contract in Scotland until missives are concluded. The missives comprise a series of contractual letters between the purchaser’s and seller’s solicitors. The purchaser’s solicitor will submit an offer in writing setting out the terms and conditions of the purchase. The seller’s solicitor will then issue another missive letter (referred to as the “qualified acceptance”) in which they may reject or modify a condition in the original offer or seek to impose a new condition. If the purchaser’s solicitor accepts these further qualifications they would then issue a further missive letter, at which point missives are concluded. Then, and only then, is there a binding contract. If either party is unable to complete the transaction on the due date they will be in breach of contract and subject to penalties set out in the missives.
The myth: “If I note interest in a property it’ll guarantee me an opportunity of offering at closing date“
The facts: The convention is that selling solicitors who’ve received a note of interest will not sell without giving those who’ve noted an interest an opportunity to offer. There is however no legal requirement on a selling solicitor to fix a closing date when more than one interest is noted. Selling solicitors are entitled to accept their client's instructions to accept an incoming offer without having a closing date and without giving other parties who may have noted an interest an opportunity to submit one.