Thinking of selling your home? Find out how the Scottish property system works for sellers, from home reports to contracts.
Selling property in Scotland: estate agent or solicitor?
In Scotland, properties are often marketed by law firms offering an additional estate agency service. This means it’s common to refer to an estate agent as a solicitor, and vice versa, in the context of selling a property.
Your property solicitor will carry out standard estate agency tasks, such as advertising the property and negotiating with buyers, and can also offer conveyancing services to cover the legal formalities of selling your property.
If you wish, you can choose a separate estate agent and conveyancer – but make sure you shop around to get the best quote.
All estate agents in the UK must be part of an ombudsman scheme such as The Property Ombudsman (TPO), which will handle complaints.
Setting the right property price
In Scotland, sellers either advertise their property for ‘offers over’ or ‘around’ a certain amount, or at a fixed price.
You should discuss which option would be best with your estate agent or solicitor, who will market the property and deal with offers from buyers on your behalf.
If you’re marketing your home at ‘offers over’ or ‘offers around’ a price, you will usually set a closing date by which you want to receive all bids.
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.
While buyers can submit offers subject to a survey, they will usually have had one carried out before making an unconditional offer.
Conveyancing for sellers in Scotland
Solicitors carry out the legal work of your sale, known as conveyancing, to ensure ownership of the property is transferred correctly.
In Scotland, the contract drawn up to sell your property is created by an exchange of ‘missives’ – a series of letters between your solicitor and the buyer’s.
The missives will contain all the clauses that apply to the sale, right down to when the buyer gets the keys.
As in the rest of the UK, this process can be drawn out as various legal checks are undertaken and a deed of transfer is put together.
These legal checks include:
- verifying the legal ownership of the property;
- running a bankruptcy check to make sure you aren’t disqualified from selling;
- looking for potential problems that could affect the property; and
- checking that any work carried out on your property had the right permissions.
The ‘conclusion of missives’ happens once everything has been agreed. At this point, a binding contract is created and neither party can break this agreement without paying compensation.
Unlike in England and Wales, a solicitor can sign this on your behalf. You will, however, have to sign the deed that transfers ownership to the buyer.
The table below gives rough estimates of how much you can expect to pay for conveyancing in Scotland.
Completing the sale of a Scottish property
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 mortgage you have on the property from the proceeds of the sale.