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Guide to Selling a House in Scotland

Adele MacGregor

Written by

17th Sep 2021 (Last updated on 18th Nov 2022) 6 minute read

If you're looking to sell a home in Scotland, you will need to be aware of the process before you begin. There are a number of steps to selling a house and in Scotland - and some of these differ from the rest of the UK.

For example, what is known in the rest of the UK as “exchange of contracts” is instead a process called “Missives”. “Completion Day” is known as “Date of Entry” and it is the seller, not the buyer, who arranges a property survey.

The average cost of selling a house in Scotland is £6,284, based on the average house price in Scotland of £187,517. From the Home Report to Missives, this guide will prepare you for the selling process.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Get a Property Valuation
  2. What is a Solicitor Estate Agent?
  3. Completing a Home Report
  4. What is a Note of Interest?
  5. Closing Date and Accepting an Offer
  6. What are Missives?
  7. What is Date of Entry?
  8. How Much Does It Cost
  9. How Long Does It Take?
  10. Next Steps of Selling a House

Get a Property Valuation

You will want to have your property valued so that you can set an asking price for your home. A valuation will take into account the size and condition of the home and the location.

This provides you with a guide when setting your price. It will ensure you do not set it too high and unrealistic, nor do you price your home too low.

A valuation can be completed by a RICS registered valuer.

What is a Solicitor Estate Agent?

In Scotland, many solicitor firms are also estate agent firms. These are known as “Solicitor Estate Agents”.

They will be responsible for the legal aspect of the property sale and the marketing of the home. Appointing a solicitor estate agent gives you a full-service team, simplifying the process.

Solicitor estate agents are usually members of Solicitors and Property Centres. They are also bound by the Law Society of Scotland guidelines. These are designed to reduce the instances of “gazumping”. This is when a seller accepts a second, higher offer after accepting an offer from another buyer.

Under the guidelines, if you want to accept a higher offer, your solicitor must withdraw from acting on your behalf. You must then find another solicitor to complete the sale. This can result in the sale taking longer and potentially add to your costs.

To learn more read: Guide to Conveyancing in Scotland

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Completing a Home Report

The next step is to arrange and complete a Home Report. As of December 1st 2008, this is a legal requirement when selling a house in Scotland.

Unlike the rest of the UK, where the buyer arranges a survey, the Home Report is the responsibility of the seller. This is then given to potential buyers so that they can make an informed decision on the home.

The cost of a Home Report will depend on the size of your property and can range from £585 to £820 on average. The documents within the report are designed to give the buyer an overview of the condition of the home.

The Home Report is split into three parts which we have reviewed below:

Single Survey

The Single Survey is undertaken by a RICS accredited surveyor. They will review the condition of the home and highlight any concerns or work that may be required. This includes:

  • Age, construction and materials used to build the property
  • Windows
  • Gutters
  • Plumbing
  • External and internal walls
  • Bathroom and kitchen fittings.

Energy Report

A surveyor will also be responsible for the Energy Report. This provides details of the energy performance of the home such as how it uses and conserves energy. This gives the buyer an idea of energy costs before they commit to buying the home. The Report will include an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

The Energy Report can also give indications of improvements to increase energy efficiency. For example, improved insulation and doubled glazed windows.

Property Questionnaire

The Property Questionaire is the third part of the Home Report. Its purpose is to provide potential buyers with helpful information about the property. This must be completed honestly and accurately by the seller. They must not withhold any information deemed relevant to the sale.

The questionnaire is designed to be straightforward enough for the seller to complete unaided. However, if you are unsure of any part of the questionnaire, consult your conveyancer.

The information provided is designed to give a clear picture of the property. This includes:

  • Alterations on the property (including extensions)
  • Council Tax Banding
  • Parking
  • Any history of flooding
  • Any local authority notices
  • Details of ground rent on the property if it is leasehold
  • Charges for upkeep on any communal areas (if applicable)

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What is a Note of Interest?

A Note of Interest is when a potential buyer formally registers interest in the property.
This is not legally binding but it does mean that the buyer will be updated on developments in the process. This includes when an offer needs to be made and the closing date of when you stop accepting offers.

Closing Date and Accepting an Offer

A closing date is the date by which all prospective buyers must submit a written offer for your property. As mentioned above, buyers must submit a Note of Interest in order so they can be notified of the closing date.

This is in effect a blind bidding system, with the seller picking the best offer from the written offers. The offer, the buyer’s circumstances and their ability to proceed should all be taken into account. Keep in mind that the highest offer may not always be the best offer for you, especially if you want to move quickly.

Once the offer is accepted, the buyer’s conveyancer arranges the necessary property searches.

Accepting an offer from a buyer is not legally binding. However, as mentioned above, if you accept an offer and accept a higher offer, your solicitor must withdraw from working on your behalf.

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What are Missives?

In simple terms, Missives is to Scotland what Exchange of Contracts is to the rest of the UK. It is after this point in the process that the sale is legally binding. Missives are a series of letters exchanged between the seller and buyer’s respective solicitors.

These letters negotiate and agree to the final terms of the sale. It is through these that the seller will formally accept the buyer’s offer. These are exchanged until a qualified acceptance has been researched. This is known as “the conclusion of missives”.

What is Date of Entry?

Date of Entry is the day the sale is completed, known as Completion Day in the rest of the UK. By this point, you should have moved out of the property and given the keys to your solicitor.

Your solicitor will deliver the keys to the buyer’s solicitor in addition to the disposition. This is a formal document transferring the ownership of the property.

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How Much Does It Cost

The average cost of selling a house in Scotland is £6,284, based on the average house price in Scotland of £187,517.

This includes:

Conveyancing: £1,690

Home Report: £600

Estate Agent Commission (at 1.5%): £2,813

Removals: £1,181

Be aware that these are averages and the cost of selling your property will depend on a number of factors such as size, value and location.

How Long Does It Take?

On average it can take 6-8 weeks from the date you accept an offer to sell a house in Scotland.

The time it takes to sell your will depend on a few factors. These include how efficient your conveyancer and the estate agent are and whether or not you are part of a property chain.

Next Steps of Buying a House

This article is part of our selling a house guide. In the next article in this guide, we'll explore the costs of selling a property in Scotland, where the process differs from the rest of the UK. To learn more read the cost of selling a house in Scotland.

Adele MacGregor

Having worked at Compare My Move for over four years, Adele covers topics such as the conveyancing process across the UK, property surveys, home moves and storage.