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Finding a buyer

When you are looking for a buyer for your home, you can choose to go through a selling agent (a solicitor or estate agent) or to market your property yourself. This page explains what a selling agent does and contains tips for finding a buyer yourself.

Do I need a selling agent?

In Scotland, most people sell their homes through a solicitor or solicitors' property centre rather than through an estate agent. However, there's no law that says you need to appoint a selling agent to help you find a buyer. You can take the following steps yourself:

  • carrying out improvements on your home to make it more appealing to buyers
  • preparing a home report
  • setting a price
  • putting up a 'for sale' board
  • advertising your home online and in newspapers
  • photographing your home, measuring rooms and preparing the particulars
  • making appointments for potential buyers to view your home and showing them round.

However, you will still need a solicitor or licensed conveyancer to carry out the legal work involved in selling the house (called conveyancing).

Advantages of doing it yourself

  • You'll save a lot of money on solicitor's fees and estate agent's commission.
  • You are in control of the process.
  • You can deal directly with potential buyers.

Disadvantages of doing it yourself

  • Using a professional selling agent such as an estate agent or solicitor will save you a lot of time and inconvenience.
  • A selling agent can give you valuable advice about marketing your home, and can also deal with any problems that arise.
  • You may end up losing money on your home if you don't conduct the selling process efficiently.

Tips for finding a buyer yourself

Advertising

  • Make sure your home is listed in your local property newspaper. Find a list of national and local Scottish newspapers at the Internet Guide to Scotland.
  • Market your home online. Websites such as s1homesHouseWeb and Scothousemove all offer low cost online marketing services to help you sell your home. You can use these services instead of or as well as a selling agent, unless your estate agent has sole selling rights. Read the page on estate agents to find out more.
  • If you make your own 'for sale' board, be sure it looks professional. A handwritten sign will probably be ignored. You can buy a board from the property websites listed above for around £30.

Writing particulars

The particulars are the information you hand out to potential buyers when they come to view your home. When you are writing the information:

  • Look at the particulars for other, similar homes to see how they are described.
  • Remember to include:
    • photographs of the home's best features
    • a list of all rooms, including their measurements
    • any special features such as period fittings
    • any fittings you'll be leaving, such as white goods or carpets
    • some information about the area.
  • Be honest. It is against the law to make false or misleading statements on the particulars. There's no need to draw attention to faults such as busy roads or expensive heating bills, but you can't then claim that the home is 'in a quiet area' or 'economical to run'.

Preparing and distributing a home report

If you are selling your home yourself, without an agent, you'll need to commission a surveyor to carry out the survey and energy report. You'll also need to distribute copies of the home report to people interested in buying your home. If someone requests a report, you must send them one within nine working days.

Find out more about home reports.

What does a selling agent do?

The services offered by different solicitors and estate agents vary, but usually they can:

  • explain to you the selling process and the costs of selling your home
  • arrange for the home report to be completed and distributed
  • prepare publicity material for your home and advertise it in their premises, in property newspapers and online
  • give you advice on presenting your home in the best possible light
  • help you set a price
  • make appointments for prospective buyers and show them round the property
  • arrange for potential buyers' surveyors to view the property
  • receive offers from buyers and pass them on to you.

What is a solicitors' property centre?

A solicitors' property centre combines the services of a solicitor and an estate agent. Many people in Scotland sell their homes through solicitors' property centres. Find your nearest centre by visiting the Scottish Solicitors' Property Centre website.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
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