What does a closing date in Scotland really mean?

Closing dates in Scotland. Loved by sellers, loathed by buyers. A closing date is a common part of the Scottish property selling & buying process. Understanding why we set them and how it can benefit everyone, is important if you are currently looking to buy a beautiful home in Scotland.

A closing date in Scotland can be a confusing prospect for both buyers & sellers. Here I talk through what happens when deciding to set a closing date, during the closing date & afterwards. If an estate agent tells you a closing date has been set do not let this panic you. You could be successful!

What is a closing date?

A closing date in Scotland is a date & time set by the estate agent, with agreement from the seller. All buyers who wish to offer for the property, must submit a formal written offer in Scottish legal terms, through their solicitor, by this time.

Why is a closing date organised?

When marketing a property the estate agents focus is to generate interest from buyers. In Scotland, you view a property and then decide if it’s the right home for you. If it is right for you, you will be encouraged to note interest through your solicitor. (Search for a Scottish Solicitor here)

When considering a closing date, the estate agent will review every note of interest to understand their position and interest. If there are multiple buyers wanting to offer, and in a position to do so, a closing date will be set.

Closing dates in Scotland are designed to maximize the price achieved for a property by creating a competitive situation. However, it is also to ensure fairness, ensuring every interested party has an opportunity to submit an offer.

What happens at the closing date?

Most closing dates are at 12 noon, so as we approach this time offers will start to arrive. Offers often arrive between 11am-12 noon either by email or in person by the solicitor. The latter is very rare now and most offers are simply emailed through.

After 12 noon all the written offers are fully reviewed by the agent and the information is relayed to the seller. The seller will then require some time to give all the offers consideration.

A decision by the seller will often be made by close of business the same day. However, we often have situations where sellers need to discuss the offers with wider family and can take a day, or even two, to make a decision.

Its the agents responsibility to provide all the information and advice to the seller so they can make an informed decision. The decision of which offer to accept is entirely the sellers.

Offers remain confidential

Does the seller have to accept the top offer?

The seller does not have to accept the top offer.

The seller can accept any offer they choose. The top offer may not be the best option. For example, the top offer may have offered the highest amount for the property but their offer may be conditional upon the sale of their own house, or may be conditional upon other surveyors or lending. Therefore the seller may choose to consider one of the other offers.

A seller may even decide not to accept any offer at the closing date in Scotland, and will simply continue to market their property. This is extremely rare and I do not recall experiencing this in my professional career.

What happens after the closing date?

Once a decision has been made by the seller, the sellers agent will contact the solicitor of each party and advise if they were successful or unsuccessful. The level of the top offer, or any other offer, will not be disclosed. Your solicitor is told where you are placed, for example 3rd out of 4 offers.

You will then see the property go under offer, viewings will stop and the successful offer will be passed to the sellers solicitor.

Your solicitor will be called with the decision.

Can I change and increase my offer?

No. You will not have an opportunity to increase your offer. The seller will very likely make a decision based on the offers received at a closing date.

You may find these post really helpful too:

Property under offer in Scotland. What does this mean?

Home Reports in Scotland. FAQ

Moving from England to Scotland? The different house buying process