The Scottish property market is known for its unique “offers over” system. This presents buyers with a blind bidding situation. In this article, we will explore how the “offers over” process works. We’ll discuss the challenges buyers face and provide guidance on determining the right offer amount. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner, understanding this process is crucial in navigating the competitive Scottish property market.
The “Offers Over” Invitation: A Blind Bidding Situation
When a house is brought to the market in Scotland, the selling estate agent typically uses the “offers over” invitation. This invitation sets an asking price intended to attract interest from potential buyers. Coupled with the “offers over” invitation is the requirement to submit an offer on the Closing Date – a predetermined date on which all offers should be received.
As a buyer, you find yourself in a blind bidding situation. You submit your offer without knowing the offers from other buyers. Then you eagerly await the response from the seller. The absence of transparency in this process can make it challenging for buyers to gauge their chances of success. It also makes it difficult to determine the appropriate amount to offer.
How Does the “Offers Over” System Work?
When sellers engage an estate agent to put their house on the market, the estate agent assesses the property’s value. They consider factors such as the valuation element of the Home Report and their knowledge of the local area. After that, they will provide the seller with an accurate assessment of the property’s worth.
However, in a busy market, the estate agent knows that there will be numerous buyers vying for the property. To attract interest, the estate agent sets an asking price and advertises the house with an “offers over” invitation. This asking price serves as a starting point for potential buyers to make their offers.
Once several buyers have viewed the property and expressed an interest in buying, the estate agent sets a closing date. On the closing date, interested buyers submit their offers. The seller, together with their estate agent and solicitor, reviews and considers each offer to determine the best option.
The Sellers’ Market: Increased Competition and Rising House Prices
Recently, the Scottish property market has been experiencing a sellers’ market. This is when more buyers are looking for properties than there are available on the market. A seller’s market leads to increased competition among buyers and rising house prices. This makes it even more crucial for buyers to think carefully about the offer they will make.
In this highly competitive market, sellers aim to maximise their profits from the sale, often leaving little room for negotiation. As a buyer, it’s essential to be prepared for this reality. Buyers must approach the bidding process with a clear understanding of the factors influencing the price to be offered.
Factors to Consider When Determining the Amount to Offer
As a buyer, determining the right offer amount can be challenging in an “offers over” situation. However, considering the following factors can help you make an informed decision:
1. Property Valuation from the Home Report
The Home Report includes a valuation of the property conducted by a surveyor. This valuation represents the surveyor’s professional opinion on the property’s worth. While it serves as a useful starting point, it’s important to remember that in a competitive bidding situation, you may need to offer more than the valuation to secure the property.
2. Affordability and Available Funds
Consider how much you can afford to pay for the property based on your deposit and any mortgage you may have secured. Conduct a thorough assessment of your finances to work out a realistic offer within your budget.
If you are in the process of selling your own property, take into account the amount you will have available after repaying any outstanding mortgage. It is crucial to be cautious about entering into a purchase contract if you have not yet sold your property, regardless of the offer amount.
3. Comfortable Affordability
Ultimately, the best advice we can offer is to offer as much as you can comfortably afford. Striking a balance between securing the property and ensuring your financial stability is key. Avoid stretching your budget too thin and compromising your financial well-being in the long run.
Seek Professional Advice and Support
Navigating the “offers over” process can be daunting, especially for first-time buyers or those unfamiliar with the Scottish property market. It’s highly recommended to seek professional advice from a solicitor who specialises in property transactions.
Having your solicitor “note your interest” in the property with the seller’s estate agent, ensures you will receive timely information about the closing date. Your solicitor can guide you through the process, help you assess the offer amount, and provide valuable insights based on their expertise.
In the competitive Scottish property market, the “offers over” system presents buyers with a blind bidding situation. To navigate this process successfully, it’s essential to understand how the system works and consider various factors when determining the offer amount.
By taking into account the property valuation and your affordability, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and increases your chances of securing the property. Seeking professional advice from a solicitor is also crucial in ensuring a smooth and successful transaction.
Remember, buying a property is a significant investment, and it’s worth taking the time to research, strategise, and seek the necessary support. By doing so, you will make the best decision for your financial future. Good luck with your property search!
If you’re thinking about buying a house, our solicitors have a wealth of experience in dealing with house purchase. We are here to help. All you need to do is speak to us and we will guide you through the house buying process.
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