Selling a property during Coronavirus COVID-19: your questions answered
Whether your home is already on the market or you’re thinking of selling soon, ESPC and our agents are here to help. We’ve highlighted some commonly asked questions about selling a property in the present circumstances, with strict social distancing measures in place, below and provided answers. For the most up-to-date guidance and advice, contact an ESPC agent today.
What should I do if I’m thinking of selling soon?
If you are thinking of selling your property in Scotland, then the first step is normally to invite an agent to your property to get a valuation, but in person valuations are currently unavailable due to the social distancing measures in place.
However, several ESPC agents have adapted by offering virtual property valuations. This allows you to show an agent your property over Facetime, Zoom or another similar platform. On the video call, the agent will ask you questions about the property and use the information they learn to provide an estimated value of how much your property is worth. An added benefit is agents can point out aspects of the property that it may be worth updating before bringing it to market.
Francesca Hill, Assistant Property Manager at Drummond Miller, said: “We believe that it is crucial for sellers to be proactive, and to get into the best position possible for when government restrictions are lifted. This means having a comprehensive virtual property valuation and market appraisal, instructing an estate agent and solicitor, and following the advice of your agent to best prepare your property for the market.”
She added: “I think the best thing to do is to be ready to market your property as quickly as possible after the current restrictions have been lifted. This way, you will get a head start and your property will be one of the first available for eager and motivated buyers.”
A virtual property valuation will allow you to start your selling journey – once the current restrictions have been lifted, you can then arrange to get a Home Report, photographs and bring your home to market.
Can I bring my home to market just now?
In Scotland, most properties need a Home Report before they can be brought to market, which requires a surveyor to visit the property in person. Surveyors are delaying the completion of Home Reports until after the current social distancing measures have been lifted.
Therefore, unless a Home Report was completed on your property prior to the current social distancing measures, you are unlikely to be able to bring it to market at the present time. However, you can still make a start on your selling journey by arranging a free virtual property valuation with an ESPC agent.
ESPC agents are experts in the selling process, and can help you prepare your home so that it is ready for sale when you can bring it to market.
My home is currently on the market – what should I do if I’m not able to offer virtual property viewings?
Many agents and sellers have started offering virtual property viewings as an alternative to in person viewings, which are not currently available due to social distancing measures. These may take different forms, including pre-recorded video tours or live viewings over Facetime, Zoom or another similar platform.
If you are not able to offer virtual property viewings, then interested buyers can still access a wealth of information about your property, with the schedules, Home Report and photos all available online. They are also able to contact the agent you are selling your home through for any additional information.
Some of our agents have reported receiving and accepting offers on properties without virtual viewings available. In these cases, the buyer generally relies on the Home Report, schedule and photographs for information about the home.
Ron Hastings, Director of Scottish Borders-based Hastings Legal, noted that they have recently accepted an offer on a property, for which there was not a virtual viewing available. The buyer had local knowledge of the area the property was in and this, alongside the photographs and information made available, meant they felt able to make an offer without viewing the property.
Of course, many buyers will prefer to view a property in person before making an offer. That’s why interested buyers are currently able to ‘register to view’ a property on ESPC, allowing your agent to capture their details and arrange a property viewing once the current social distancing measures have been lifted.
Some interested buyers are also making offers currently that are subject to an in person viewing once the current restrictions have been lifted.
Can I still accept and negotiate offers on my property?
Offers can still be made and accepted on properties.
You may also be wondering if you will be able to negotiate offers in the present circumstances. While there is likely to be less demand than usual due to the current social distancing measures preventing in person property viewings, you may still be able to negotiate offers that you receive. Your solicitor estate agent will be crucial in advising you on whether you can and should negotiate offers with an interested buyer.
Michelle Graham, Property Department Manager at VMH Solicitors, revealed that they recently accepted an offer on a property which they had negotiated with the buyer: “The offer was originally made below the Home Report valuation but, as it was from a cash, chain-free buyer who didn’t need to view the property in person, I recommended that the seller negotiate. They named a figure they would be happy to accept and the buyer agreed.”
It’s important to remember that circumstances vary and you won’t necessarily be able to negotiate offers with a buyer. You should consult with your solicitor estate agent and they can advise you about the best course of action for your property sale.
Will the missives be concluded?
If you have made an offer on a property, it is likely that your solicitor will delay concluding the missives until after the social distancing measures have been lifted. This means the selling process may take a bit longer than normal.
Your solicitor is best placed to advise you on the progress of your transaction, and you should speak to them with any questions.
ESPC agents are here to help
Throughout this unprecedented situation, ESPC and our agents are here to help property buyers and sellers. For the most up-to-date guidance and information around buying or selling a home during the COVID-19 outbreak, contact an ESPC agent today.
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