Scottish Property Selling 28% Quicker Than British Counterparts
Property in Scotland is currently selling 28% quicker than its British counterparts.
As the property market continues to slow in England and Wales, many are starting to reflect on the Scottish model as a symbol of good practice.
Recent research, conducted by Property Solvers, found that it only takes the average property in Scotland 12.57 weeks to move from listing to being marked as sold by the Land Registry.
This represents a 28.16% increase on the 16.11 weeks it is taking property in England and Wales to complete in the 12 months to May 2019.
Even though the properties sold in Scotland represent a fraction of the total properties in England and Wales, there are some stark differences between the way property is sold north of the border and sales procedures in England and Wales.
In particular, Scottish sellers are required to provide a Home Report, similar to the abolished Home Information Pack (HIP) or property log books which are being increasingly used in new build property transactions.
It has been argued that presenting more of the property information in a transparent way could improve the speed and efficiency of property sales.
Stuart Young, Managing Director of Etive Technologies, a company producing property log books for new build and public sector homes, commented:
“The buying and selling of a home can be quite complex and can often require vast amounts of information and confirmations relating to the purchase. This is a time consuming and costly process. The information often sits in multiple places and bringing all the information together in the one place, that can be accessed and reused multiple times, will help reduce further time constraints for all those involved in the transaction process. This also supports the ability to share all the information with as many relying parties at once, introducing greater transparency as all relying parties see the same information at the same time.
“It will also help reduce duplication of effort and by default associated costs. We know from experience that documents can be lost or misplaced. This holds up a sale and it is often left to the seller to try and source these documents, such as a warranty that relates to a new build home. Again, there are financial implications to consider.
“Putting together a secure repository of information that stays with the property will help reduce the time, effort and costs associated with capturing, storing and sharing of information.
“We need to look beyond just conveyancing information. Other important documents may relate to repair, maintenance and improvement work, warranties and guarantees as well as information relating to the internal design of the property. This is information that buyers may want such as kitchen and bathroom specifications, central heating, communal area management, in fact anything you can think of, as different information will be important to people at different times. We need to look at this in terms of the lifetime of the property, not just the selling part.
“As one home buyer said ‘Every piece of information you would need is there. If we were replacing things in the future for example. Information for prospective buyers is very good too. When we sold our house, our solicitors lost some of our information which was very costly but that wouldn’t happen with this system. It all looked very straight forward and easy to use.‘
“There are also examples of properties being sold that have their own water and energy supplies so brings into the mix the complexities around ‘green’ homes and energy efficiency and management. Property log books were also used by Scottish Water on the two largest water and energy efficiency projects in the residential sector. Having a property log book supported the whole smart meter technology infrastructure that was put in place to better monitor these homes through these 5 years projects. For this reason, a digital property log book should be viewed as a platform for a range of different purposes within the lifetime of a property.”
Ruban Selvanayagam, co-founder of Property Solvers, said:
“Although the sample size is lower and the system is far from perfect, it is evident that the English and Welsh conveyancing process could learn some key lessons from Scotland.
“Prior to getting homes on the market, by and large, Scottish sellers are required to deliver a Home Report.
“The seller will also supply a ‘single survey’ which the buyer can present to the lender for mortgage approval. Provided the surveying firm is on the lenders approved panel, there are usually no obstacles.
“This minimises an increasingly frequent issue in England and Wales of down-valuations that result in sellers pulling out or attempting to renegotiate the final purchase price.
“Although Home Information Packs had limited success in England and Wales, there is a strong argument that sellers should be presenting their homes in a more transparent way.”
Claire Flynn from Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre (ESPC) said:
“Properties in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas have been achieving significantly short selling times for a number of months now.
“ESPC’s last House Price Report revealed that between February and April, the median selling time of properties in east central Scotland was just 26 days. These short selling times are largely due to significant demand for properties in these areas, coupled with a shortage of supply.
“However, the Scottish home buying and selling process, which is different to the one in England and Wales, may well be a contributing factor in properties selling quicker north of the border.
“In particular, the prevalence of the solicitor estate agent in Scotland means buyers and sellers are able to get expert legal and market advice from solicitors and property managers in one place and earlier in the process.
“Their expertise helps to ensure strong marketing of properties, which results in fast selling times.
“There is also further transparency in the Scottish conveyancing process with Home Reports being readily available, so buyers can find out key information about a property before offering.
“Also, the missives are concluded in Scottish process much earlier than the exchange of contracts occurs in the English process, allowing for greater certainty earlier on and a smoother and faster property transaction overall.”
Would the introduction of property log books or home reports improve the buying and selling process?