Selling property in Shetland

A comprehensive service from start to finish

Your property is likely to be your biggest financial asset. When it comes time to sell, legal advice and assistance is vital at an early stage to make the process as stress free as possible. Our full-time Property Director, Robert Bell, has over 20 years' experience of the Shetland property market and under his guidance we provide a comprehensive service to assist you with selling your property – from the initial marketing to final settlement of the sale.

As solicitor estate agents, we also offer a full conveyancing service and one of our lawyers will undertake the legal work involved.

The information below is intended as a general guide to selling a property. Robert will be happy to discuss your own individual circumstances in further detail.

Robert Bell, Property Director
T: (0)1595 69 5583
Fax: (0)1595 69 5310

A guide to selling your home

Marketing your property

Robert Bell will be delighted to meet with you at your home to discuss how best to market your property, taking full advantage of the range of marketing tools at our disposal. At this initial meeting we will explain the whole process, including advice on the Home Report. We'll help you to complete the property questionnaire, carefully collate all the information required, take photographs and advise on how best to show your property. We will also provide you with a written estimate of our fees and outlays for the transaction.

Our marketing service includes:

  • Property schedule - Comprehensive property schedule with full details of your property, including colour photographs, floor plan & room sizes, details of the location and how to get there. The schedule will be placed in our Property Book at our reception and handed out to all interested parties. You will also be supplied with copies for your own use should viewers not have obtained one from our office beforehand. A draft property schedule will be prepared and the details agreed with you prior to any marketing commencing.
  • Website - Full details of your property will be advertised on this site, marketing your property throughout the UK & beyond. There is no additional charge for this service. We can also arrange advertising on Rightmove, the UK's biggest property website, if required (at extra cost).
  • Property windows - Details with a colour photograph will be placed in our two prominent display windows on Commercial Street & Toll Clock Shopping Centre, ensuring the widest possible coverage.
  • Mailing list - Details of your property will be circulated on our extensive mailing list. This includes buyers locally as well as those from outwith Shetland planning a move here.
  • ‘For Sale’ boards - Property ‘For Sale’ boards or window posters are available marketing your property to potential purchasers passing by.
  • Advertising - We will prepare & book adverts in the Shetland Times or other publications as instructed. Advertising space is simply charged at cost and will be discussed with you in advance.
  • Accompanied viewings - Generally most sellers handle viewings themselves either by listing their own contact details or as arranged through us, however if this is not possible we offer a full accompanied viewings service or, in some cases, we can arrange for viewers to collect a key from our office.

Home Reports

Following legislation brought into force in Scotland in December 2008, properties have to be marketed with a Home Report.

The Home Report is a pack of three documents: a Single Survey / Valuation, an Energy Report and a Property Questionnaire.

The Single Survey contains an assessment by a surveyor of the condition of the home, a valuation and an accessibility audit for people with particular needs.

The Energy Report contains an assessment by a surveyor of the energy efficiency of the home and its environmental impact. It includes an Energy Rating in much the same way as there is for a new cooker or fridge, and also recommends ways to improve the energy efficiency.

The Property Questionnaire is completed by the seller of the home. It contains additional information about the property, such as Council Tax banding, alterations, and other important information that will be useful to buyers.

Further information can be found on the Scottish Government Website.

Home Reports can currently be obtained from one of the two local surveyors in Shetland. We can arrange this for you if required:

Lowrie Simpson

7 Corinth Place, Lerwick, Shetland, ZE1 0FG

Tel: 07879 333 387

Stuart Masterton
PO Box 11688,
Skellister, Nesting, Shetland, ZE2 9YA

Tel: 01595 890 291

Energy Reports

The Energy Report included in the Home Report is covered by separate legislation. All properties for sale require an Energy Report, irrespective of whether or not a full Home Report is required. A copy of the energy report is held in the property and also at our office.

Setting an asking price

Using our extensive experience of the local property market we will discuss an appropriate asking price with you, taking into account the valuation contained in the Home Report and current market conditions, with the aim of achieving the best possible price for the property. Properties are generally advertised at or around valuation, however, sellers are free to market their property at whatever price they wish. Properties are usually advertised at an “Offers Over” price, or sometimes at “Offers in the Region Of” as a general guide. Occasional we may recommend a “Fixed Price”, where the first firm offer received at the asking price is accepted.

At this stage we will require sight of the title deeds to the property to enable us to check everything is in order. If you have a mortgage the deeds will be with your lender. We will ask them to send the deeds on to us.

Initial title checks

Once the deeds have been received we will obtain an Ordnance Survey comparison report (“Land Report”) if the property is being sold for the first time since the Land Registration system of recording property ownership details was introduced to Shetland in 2003. Under this system, the title a purchaser receives is in the form of a Ordnance Survey map-based Land Certificate. The Plans Report compares the extent of the property as described in the title deeds with the OS map. If this highlights any discrepancies these may need to be remedied.

We will also ask you whether any alterations have been carried out to the property which would have required planning permission, a building warrant and / or any other consents. This is important because if not dealt with early on it can result in delays later.

If we have not acted for you before we will need to obtain proof of identity from you to comply with Law Society Regulations.

Buying a property too?

If you are selling a property the chances are that you will also be purchasing another one. We will be happy to deal with your purchase in tandem with the sale.

Noted interests & closing dates

Once your property is on the market our Property Manager is available at any time to review progress, follow up viewings, and, using our considerable experience of the Shetland property market generally, advise on offers received, closing dates or a future plan of action where necessary.

Prospective purchasers may advise you of their interest directly or they may “note their interest” formally with us through their solicitor. By accepting a noted interest we cannot guarantee that an interested party will be given the opportunity to offer but we will make every effort to allow them to do so.

Offers may be received at any time, however in some cases a closing date may be fixed. If a closing date is set, offers are submitted in the form of sealed bids at the appropriate time and usually the highest offer is accepted, although sellers are not bound to accept the highest or indeed any offer.

Securing an offer
We will discuss all offers with you. Although an offer usually runs to several pages, of most importance at the initial stage are the price, date of entry, any moveable items being included, and whether the offer is subject to matters such as survey, finance or perhaps the sale of another property.

Sometimes further negotiation about the price may be required. We will undertake this on your behalf with the aim of securing the best possible price.

Once the basic details are agreed the offer will be accepted in principle and the property noted as being “Under Offer”. It is a common misconception that the receipt of an offer and an acceptance in principle means that the house is “Sold”, however this is not the case. At this stage the basic details have been agreed but the ‘small print’ requires to be finalised before there is a binding contract.

Concluding a binding contract (the missives)
Once an offer has been accepted in principle, we will take your detailed instructions on the terms of the offer and send a written formal acceptance of the offer (referred to as the “qualified acceptance”) amending the original offer where necessary, to the purchaser’s solicitor, along with the title deeds for examination. In many cases the purchaser’s solicitor will then send a further formal letter concluding a legally binding contract, at which point the property is effectively ‘Sold’ and neither party can back out without penalty. This exchange of letters (known as the “missives”) forms the contract for the sale. Sometimes additional qualified acceptances are necessary before a contract is agreed. Throughout the process you will be kept fully advised of all developments in connection with your sale. During the period a property is “Under Offer”, offers from other parties cannot usually be considered unless negotiations with the successful offeror have broken down.

General conveyancing
In the course of concluding a contract we will resolve any queries raised by the purchaser’s solicitor. This may require your assistance or instructions. We will also obtain the necessary supporting documentation required, including a Property Enquiry Certificate (which confirms details about planning, roads, water & sewerage and other matters relating to your property), and updated Searches. These documents, along with the Plans Report, are paid for by the seller. The costs will be detailed in our estimate. If there is a mortgage the outlays will also include the Keeper's fee for recording the Discharge of the Standard Security in favour of the lender. In some cases there may be other outlays, for example if any additional building warrant documentation is required.

Where there is a mortgage we will deal with all the necessary paperwork required to discharge the lender’s security and will also obtain a redemption statement confirming the amount required to repay the loan. If your mortgage is on a fixed or capped interest rate or any other special arrangement, you should check whether any charge will be imposed for early repayment of the loan.

Finally, you will be asked to sign the Disposition transferring the property title from the seller to the purchaser shortly before the settlement date.

Settling the transaction
On the date of entry (the settlement or completion date), the keys and title deeds will be handed over to the purchaser’s solicitor in exchange for the purchase price. We will then repay any outstanding mortgage and pay the net sale proceeds to you after deduction of our fees. Following settlement we will advise Shetland Islands Council of the change of ownership for council tax purposes and you will be provided with a full breakdown of all fees and outlays involved in the transaction.

We aim to ensure that you are happy with every aspect of our service. A Client Relations Partner is available if required.

For more information please contact Robert Bell, who will be delighted to advise and assist.

Robert Bell, Property Director
T: (0)1595 69 5583
Fax: (0)1595 69 5310

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Mailing List Signup Form

By filling out the form below you will be placed on our mailing list for an initial period of three months and will be notified when properties matching your requirements are placed on the market. Please note our website contains the complete details of all properties for sale through Dowle, Smith & Rutherford, with exactly the same information as can be found in the usual schedule by post.

When completing the form please use the comments section to provide as much extra information as possible so that we only send you details of properties that are sure to be relevant. We will advise you of properties that meet your requirements as closely as possible. If we advise you about a particular property this does not necessarily imply that the property will meet all your specific requirements in full. We always recommend that you view the property personally and check all details carefully.

Type of property sought
Essential requirements
Location Desired

Please do not select all locations - different areas in Shetland have quite different characteristics. For example, it would be unlikely that a property in Lerwick will be of interest to someone considering a croft house in Yell or Unst.

Please note any additional requirements, queries or comments in the box provided.

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