Selling a Home in England-It's a Lot Different Than In Virginia

By
Real Estate Agent with Integrity Real Estate Group

76 St Michaels Grove-Fareham UKFirst of all the disclaimer. I'm not an expert in International Real Estate.  However since my daugher and her husband own a home in Southeast England they've taught me that it is an entirely different process than what we are used to in Virginia.

They've had the fun (term used lightly) of purchasing their first home and then discovering that their home needed far more than just cosmetic repairs.  No home inspections and contingencies to protect a buyer from a lemon.  As a result they've stripped their home to the studs and rebuilt it doing most of the work themselves.  Now they are returning to the US and it's time to sell their home.

They contacted a few local estate agents and found one to list their home.  The first big difference in selling a home in the UK is there is no multiple listing service.  You list your home with one agency and anyone looking to buy must go through that agency.  Internet savvy agency are hard to find and most agencies post photos in the windows of their offices and wait for the buyers to walk in.  

76 St Michaels Grove-Upper Bath Before
Fortunately they found an agency that understands the value of technology and photos of their home at 76 St. Michaels Grove on the internet. Despite the news in the UK of a down trend in the housing market they had an offer on their property in less than a week.  The estate agents don't handle any of the writing of contracts or processing of the transaction. Everything is handled by solicitor's aka attorney's to a US folks.

The seller's solicitor sends out a draft contract to the buyer's solicitor who who then puts together a draft offer. With the draft the buyers and sellers agree on dates for the survey on the property, exchange of contracts and proposed date for completion.  There are no legal obligations until contracts are signed which means either party can drop out of the contract,

Once the contract has been signed by both parties the deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) is paid by the buyer's solicitor to the seller's solicitor. The completion date is then set by mutual agreement and the sale is complete with final exchange of contracts and the buyers mortgage approval.

Hopefully they will have a better selling experience than they did buying.  The couple buying their home will find a home that doesn't have rotted floor joists or "wonky" plumbing.  Now that they are skilled rennovators I think I'll put them to work on one of my investment properties...I"m sure they'll love that idea.

 

 

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                                   Real People*Real Lives*Real Estate

If you are interested in learning more about the Northern Virginia Real Estate market including Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William Counties give Cindy Jones and Integrity Real Estate Group a call at 703-346-2213.

Military Relocation Specialist serving military families relocating to and from the Pentagon, Fort Belvoir, Quantico MCB and all of the Military District of Washington installations. 

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Check out www.varealestatetalk.com and www.cjrealtygroup.com for more information.

Integrity Real Estate Group
 
Real People*Real Life*Real Estate

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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
238,236
Pat Fenn
Marketing Specialist for CJ Realty Group/Cindy Jones Broker - Springfield, VA

You'll have to explain gazumpting in another post.  I'm sure buyer's here would be suprised at what could happen in the UK.

Sep 12, 2010 09:23 PM #8
Rainmaker
816,028
David Spencer
Keller Williams Team Realty - Bloomingdale, IL
Chicago Area Commercial-Residential R.E.

Nice bathroom.

Sep 12, 2010 09:47 PM #9
Rainmaker
684,508
Kay Van Kampen
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX Solutions - Springfield, MO
Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate

This was very educational.  Makes selling real estate in the US with a MLS system sound really easy.  Is your daughter moving back to help you?

Sep 12, 2010 10:21 PM #10
Rainer
96,096
Ross Therrien
Prudential Verani Realty, Londonderry,New Hampshire - Londonderry, NH
Realtor, Broker Associate

If it works for them, don't fix it.  Personally I prefer the less lawyers the better, except for Title and Closing services.

Sep 12, 2010 11:04 PM #11
Rainmaker
117,447
Anne Clark
Metro Referrals - Gainesville, VA

How can you do business without an MLS?  My goodness I can't even imagine.  Different is absolutely right.

Sep 12, 2010 11:46 PM #12
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Pat-good idea.  I"ll give it a try as it is a very different concept.

Sep 13, 2010 07:08 AM #13
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

David-hope you went to the after pictures in the link to the estate agent to see what it looked like when they were done.

Sep 13, 2010 07:09 AM #14
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Ross-I'm sure it works for the estate agents and the solicitors.  I'm sure the buyer's and sellers might be happy with a bit more protection during the process.

Sep 13, 2010 07:10 AM #15
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
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Kay-she is going back to school but will be working for me as a virtual assistant and technology guru when she gets settled.

Sep 13, 2010 07:13 AM #16
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
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Anne-in the US we have evolved to have at least local MLS systems and plans in place to work towards a national system but there was a time in US RE that all you had were photos in a book.

Sep 13, 2010 07:16 AM #17
Rainer
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Kathryn Maguire
GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

Cindy, I was recently in the UK and found out from my cousin that they don't have 30 year mortgages... more like five year mortgages and then they must refinance.  I was shocked!

Sep 13, 2010 09:48 AM #18
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

No inspections?  I would be terrified to buy anything in the UK.  I am not a home repair guru. 

Sep 13, 2010 10:15 AM #19
Rainmaker
398,614
Kathryn Acciari
RE/MAX Professional Associates, with offices in Sturbridge, Charlton, Auburn, Spencer, and Shrewsbury - Sturbridge, MA
Realtor - CDPE, CIAS, Sturbridge MA Real Estate

Quite a different animal that is for sure, Cindy.  And wait - attorneys actually write the contracts?  Who ever heard of such a thing?  Very interesting comparison of UK to US.  (I guess sometimes we forget how good we have it here.)

Sep 13, 2010 12:57 PM #20
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Kathryn-They do have a different mortgage structure than we do.  Kara and Iain's mortgage is quite different than anything we have.  The rates are tied to I believe it is the Bank of England rates and theirs rate changed on a regular basis.  In this case it was positive as their rates dropped from when they purchased lowering their payment considerably.

Sep 13, 2010 01:17 PM #21
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Chris Ann-I don't think they anticipating becoming home rennovation guru's but if you take a look at the after pictures you will see that they became quite good at it. 

Sep 13, 2010 01:17 PM #22
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Kathryn-I know across the US there are different norms for contracts.  In the UK it is the solicitors who handle the bulk of the process which on some days would be a welcome relief for me.

Sep 13, 2010 01:19 PM #23
Rainmaker
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Carra Riley
Author, Speaker, Consultant, Carra Riley Inc. - Williams, AZ
CRB, CRS, GRI

Cindy....I have traveled to the UK numerous times and continue to be intrigued by their real estate practices.  Even though we complain at times about our system, it is far superior in my opinion. 

Sep 13, 2010 02:02 PM #24
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Patricia Kennedy
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc. - Washington, DC
For Your Home in the Capital

Cindy, do they still have, what do they call it?  Gazumping?  Where up til settlement someone can kick out a buyer with a higher offer?  Or something like that.

Sep 13, 2010 10:38 PM #25
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Carra-we are fortunate to have at miniumum buyer agency to provide buyers protection.  Something my daughter and her husband could have used.

Sep 17, 2010 12:45 PM #26
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Pat-yes the dreaded Gazumping still exists.  Don't see it as a benefit for anuone as it would delay settlement for the seller to go back to square one.

Sep 17, 2010 12:46 PM #27
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Cindy Jones

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