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Is ESPC Unlock the key to bringing more properties to the Scottish market?

Published: 09 January 2023
Time to read: 4 mins

Search and selection of homes for purchase or rent. Many house models and one red with heart

Have you ever considered putting your house on the market but have been put off by the thought of finding another property to purchase? ESPC and solicitor estate agents have launched an “Unlock” scheme to provide new opportunities for Scottish sellers and purchasers, aiming to bring more properties to market.

In Scotland it is common for offers to be accepted subject to the sale of the purchaser’s existing property. Although, Unlock aims to reverse this by providing sellers a similar reassurance that they can find their next home with flexibility and transparency. Rather than a purchaser offering subject to sale of their property, the seller is essentially selling subject to the purchase of another property.

The homes will be marketed by ESPC as “Unlock” properties, so prospective purchasers will be aware the sellers’ preferences from the outset. The main principle of the scheme will involve adding conditions to the missives, which give the seller the option to withdraw from the sale if they are unable to find a new home within a certain period. This would involve setting a long entry date, for example, six months, to give the seller adequate time to secure their new home. If the seller finds a new property quickly,  there is the option for the entry date to be brought forward. If the seller does not find a new home within the agreed timeframe, there may be an option to extend the Unlock period, if the purchaser is willing to do so. This arrangement would be negotiated between the solicitors and may result in a sum of money being paid to the purchaser by the seller, although any sums would be agreed at the outset when the purchaser is making an offer.

The overall benefit of the scheme will be the clarity it brings for the seller who will know exactly how much they can buy their new home for, and as a result they will be in a stronger purchasing position, having already agreed a sale for their existing property. This will also have a positive effect on the market itself by making more homes available to purchase which may not otherwise have. The scheme will not suit everyone and it may limit the pool of potential purchasers available, but once the right buyer is found, the seller has the security of knowing the purchaser is committed.

We have an example below to highlight the benefit of the Unlock scheme for both the purchaser and the seller:

  • The Smiths have retired and are now looking to downsize their home.
  • They plan to purchase a new property in Dean Village with the funds received from the sale of their current home in Morningside, therefore would like the assurance of exactly how much they can buy their new home for.
  • The Smith’s Morningside property is listed on ESPC as an “Unlock” home
  • The Browns are looking to secure a new family home in Morningside and the Smith’s home looks perfect for their requirements
  • A sale arrangement is created under the Unlock scheme with an entry date of six months subject to the Smiths purchasing another property within that time
  • The Browns have secured their new family home with full transparency of the property chain and an extended period to prepare finances

The Unlock initiative is only available through ESPC solicitor estate agents and we can provide you with more information as to what the scheme would mean for you.

If you are planning to move home and you think Unlock may be appropriate for your circumstances, please get in touch with one of our property experts to discuss your options.

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