Sold subject to missive. A sticker often used to denote a home is off the market.

For those of us who have worked in the Industry for a long period, we are almost always told about the wonderful Scottish system. The separate legal rules that “separate” us from England. No chains, once an offer is in, that’s it. Early missives, no such thing as contracts exchanged on day of settlement. You have plenty of time to know the home is yours. Plan removals, furniture and your new garden( if garden in title).

The reality is however somewhat different. A mixture of covid, furlough, staffing challenges and continual legislation (money laundering, data protection rules etc) has made the job of tying up the bargain that much harder.

Without blaming any industry or firm, there has been a definite change in the time taken to conclude the bargain.

Sellers are exposed in the time between an offer being accepted and the conclusion and agreement on the amount, entry date and conditions.

It is often the buyer that feels more advantaged. Safe in the knowledge they will proceed. Sure that their finance will be in place and everything, however long it takes, will work out well. The vendor is often left frustrated. Will the buyer complete? Will their finance come through in time? Does a mortgage in principle guarantee the funds will be given?  That’s before they have booked a removal firm or packed a box!!

There are indeed two separate legal systems governing our countries, however could we not “borrow” some aspects to improve our own?

Our missive system is excellent. It ensures a bargain is binding and ties both parties in. Our experience has shown that in Scotland we are far better at checking a mortgage for a certain buyer earlier in the process. If solicitors stick to their specialist subject they are in the main excellent. They know and adhere superbly to our system carrying out a plethora of duties. Their forte it is often argued, is the law, not estate agency.

However, could we not borrow or introduce the system of deposits?  A non-refundable amount paid by a buyer to give further assurance of their intention to proceed. As it stands, one difficult message from a prospective purchaser ( or their solicitor) lets them back out completely of the transaction at any stage prior to a complete missive. This could be after weeks of that sellers home being removed from the open market subject to missive!

So an agreed amount paid at either offer or early in the transaction could ensure every buyer and their representatives are fully focussed.

Regents check every buyers status, we get involved in the process after offer to look after every one of our cherished clients. A deposit would however help.