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Home Sellers' Packs - it can pay to be prepared!


The facts of a property. How many times have agents and sellers worked hard building relationships with buyers only to find these dashed by suspicion when its found that the property they are praising has major physical, legal or administrative flaws? Everything goes 'down the drain' - or not if that's what is the problem! What a waste of time for all concerned. It has to be assumed these days that most buyers and their professional advisors will carry out due diligence. Check who are the owners; what liabilities there are in the title; what are the costs and outstanding debts against the property; and so on. Once a client has decided to buy everyone wants it to go through as quickly as possible, but very often problems only surface when the paper gathering is being carried out. Here I have to speak in defence of lawyers! Their job is to ensure that everything that should be is legally transferred and anything that shouldn't be is avoided. Owners and agents can brush problems under the carpet, put heads in the sand and hope that they find a buyer daft enough to pay their money without any checks - and depressingly we know that there are many out there! But these problems will inevitably surface at some time and will cause hassle, anger, grief, worry and much wasted time.

Isn't it better to get them identified and cleared if possible prior to or during the marketing period? What I'm referring to is the preparation of a Home Sellers' Pack. This is just a simple matter of getting all the essential papers together - the escritura, the last five IBI and community receipts, the minutes of the last community AGM, electricity, water and telephone receipts. All that stuff that should be requested by a sensible buyer. If any problems are found, they can be dealt with or at least known as being there, before time and expense is wasted on marketing. And of course included within that should be a building survey report. Again, if problems are found they can either be dealt with by the seller or accepted as being there and the price modified accordingly. It's likely to happen anyway during the purchase negotiations. Having all that available to pass to potential buyers is a great reassurance for them and will certainly mark out that property and the people associated with it, as being above the mass in a market where information comes in dribs and drabs and may not be given at all. Packs such as these are, I understand, the norm in most Scandinavian countries and perhaps the Netherlands. So again, by providing them you take away some of the barriers that can be created by the strangeness of different conventions in a foreign land.

There are trials proceeding with these in the UK. In Scotland and in Bristol in SW England, agents have reported a 50% reduction in sales falling through. 50%! That would certainly influence the conversion rates on those I.F's. They were found to reduce the price renegotiations and speed up the transactions. Especially important when you have a keen buyer and you don't want him to go off looking elsewhere whilst people take weeks finding 'lost' papers or getting quotes for work. Yes, their have been reports of seller's being reluctant to cover the cost of these packs, but all the work is going to have to be done at some time anyway and its just that it comes up front rather than being a scurry around and panic at the end.

Campbell D Ferguson
F.R.I.C.S. Chartered Surveyor
Survey Spain
00 34 952 923 520

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