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Scottish property system

Selling a house in Scotland

By Joe Elvin

Article 4 of 5

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Selling a house in Scotland

Thinking of selling your home? Find out the basic steps you need to take, from ordering a home report to signing the contract.

Home reports

If you're putting your home on the market in Scotland, you must have a home report prepared. A home report contains a survey, an energy report and a property questionnaire.

Home reports are typically prepared by surveyors. Some newly built homes or homes recently converted into residential properties won't require a home report, and nor will homes bought using Right to Buy.

  • If you're likely to need a new mortgage when you move house, call Which? Mortgage Advisers on 0808 252 7987 for expert, impartial advice based on your personal circumstances

Estate agents for Scottish property sales

In Scotland, most houses are marketed by companies that are primarily law firms but also do estate agency on behalf of their clients.   

These firms will carry out conveyancing, as well as arranging the home report, advertising the property, negotiating price and helping with the selling process. 

You should get quotes from both solicitors and traditional estate agents when choosing a selling agent, but if you use an estate agent you will still need a solicitor to carry out the legal work.

All estate agents in the UK must be part of an ombudsman scheme, which will handle complaints. There are two ombudsman schemes - The Property Ombudsman (TPO), formerly the Ombudsman for Estate Agents, and Ombudsman Services: Property

Find out more: how to find the best estate agent - watch our two-minute video

Setting the property price

In Scotland, you can advertise the property price at either 'offers over' a certain amount or a fixed price, which usually means you will accept the first offer you get for that amount. You should discuss which option would be best with your selling agent. The agent will then receive offers from any interested buyers. If you're using an estate agent, they will pass the best one on to your solicitor.

If more than two buyers are interested in your property, you will usually set a closing date by which you want to receive all offers. You can then choose the one you want to accept based on the amount and the terms of the offer, which will include a suggested 'date of entry' for completing the sale and other technical terms.

A buyer will usually have found out as much as they can about the property, including getting any extra surveys carried out, before making an unconditional offer. However, in some cases a buyer may submit an offer subject to survey.

Find out more: how to set your asking price - see our expert advice

Completing the sale of a Scottish property

When the contract has been agreed between your solicitor and the buyer's - known as 'concluding the missives' - the sale is then legally binding. Neither party can break the agreement without paying compensation to the other.

The sale is completed on the date of entry agreed in the contract, when the buyer pays the full purchase price in exchange for the keys to the property and the 'disposition' document transferring ownership to them.

Your solicitor will then deal with paying off any outstanding loan you have on the property from the proceeds of the sale. 

  • Finding a conveyancer can be a tricky process. That's why we've teamed up with a national law firm that we believe offers a service you can trust. Find out about Which? Conveyancing.
  • Last updated: July 2016
  • Updated by: Stephen Maunder

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

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