Rethink for HIPs as homes sell 28% faster north of the border

Scottish properties are selling 28% faster than those in England and Wales.

The finding has prompted suggestions that there is something for the rest of the UK to learn from the Scottish system, where information is released upfront.

Research – which tracked the time from when a property was listed on Rightmove to when it is shown as sold by the Land Registry in the 12 months to May – found that homes north of the border sold within an average of 12.57 weeks compared with 16.11 in England and Wales, a 28.16% difference.

Ruban Selvanayagam, co-founder of quick sale firm Property Solvers, which conducted the research, said this suggests it is worth taking lessons from the Scottish system – where a Home Report is prepared and presented in advance – amid plans to review the home buying process in England and Wales.

Selvanayagam 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.”

Commenting on the figures, 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.”

Gregor Cope, director of estate agency Scottish Property Centre Shawlands, said: “Despite uncertainty over Brexit and a shortage of available housing stock, Glasgow is one of the most buoyant housing markets in the UK.

“Scotland’s biggest city has overtaken Edinburgh in setting the pace and, in some areas, average selling times is less than a fortnight from going on the market to receiving an offer.

“There’s a misconception that properties are sold by solicitors north of the border.

“In fact most are, and always have been, sold by traditional high street estate agencies like ours, with around 97% listed on online property portals such as Rightmove.”

Scottish House Sale Trends (May 2018 to May 2019)

Scottish region

Time to sell

No. of properties sold


8 Weeks



11 Weeks



11 Weeks



11 Weeks



11 Weeks



12 Weeks



13 Weeks



13 Weeks



14 Weeks



14 Weeks



14 Weeks



14 Weeks



15 Weeks



15 Weeks


12.57 Weeks



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  1. LetItGo

    Its not HIPs, it solicitors and councils that hold up the sales process coupled with the ability for buyers (and sellers) to pull out of deals. Identify the problems properly rather than finding a possible solution to an otherwise misunderstood issue.

    1. TwitterSalisPropNews

      The system needs fixing, too many estate agents and too many conveyancers are unfit to offer a chargeable service.
      It has got so bad that as a conveyancer I have started to chase estate agents who are still marketing a property to see how they are getting on.
      Too many English & Welsh estate agents can take weeks, months, even over a year or more to sell a property – not a critique of where the properties are in a difficult market / sellers have unrealistic price expectation but the situation where the estate agent ploughs zero effort in, yet expects a fat commission. No open houses, no weekly visits, patchy (or none) updates on viewings, no weekly client reports, no empty property management, no email shot to their database.
      Or worse yet, when the conveyancers then over once a buyer has been found, the agent offers no involvement during the legal work, yet it is the estate agent’s deal!?
      And worst of all, when a buyer is found, the estate agent does not vet them for proof they can afford to buy, they don’t care about whether the buyer has a related sale or how long their chain is – they just tell the seller to accept the offer.
      So the conveyancer takes over from an already bored seller who was close to taking the property off the market because the agent too so long to find a buyer, and with a buyer who will probably pull out in a couple of weeks as their chain is too long or they have no chance at securing a mortgage, and with no upfront legal documentation (e.g like the HIPs that were foolishly abolished) to send in one hit to a buyer’s lawyer.
      So what a mess the conveyancer can inherit.
      BUT – to balance things out – the conveyancer can (and my goodness they do) then mess it up. Why? Any and all of the following I suggest:
      1.  no legal qualification/experience  – just hiding behind the badge of their employer, hoping the public won’t ask ‘what qualification do you have?’
      2. on a shoddy wage
      3. no career opportunities
      4.  not the same named conveyancer guaranteed from the start to the end – but a conveyor belt
      5.  too small a conveyancing team to cover holiday and absences
      6. they don’t offer anything other than conveyancing – so cannot protect and advise their home moving clients on wills, family, employment, company, tax, trusts, probate…the list goes on….all of which can be impacted by selling and buying a property   Due to
      1-6, the conveyancer may not care and may have zero confidence, and so they are slow, scared to reply to any question (so won’t return emails/calls), needing their file signed off when perhaps an actual solicitor/senior conveyancer (if they have one) visits the office once a week. Mistakes can be made, and the deal aborts or takes an age (and articles like this are then written about how slow England & Wales are)
      It’s the system that needs looking at. It’s the ‘who’ that should be the focus. Good estate agents and good conveyancers – put them together and deals fly, happy clients everywhere.

  2. PeeBee

    In the last month or so I have collected data showing some 40-odd properties in Scotland that have been #RElisted after having been previously marked “SSTC” by the Agent.

    Someone care to explain how that can be?


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