A closing date acts as a cut-off point and is the deadline by which all interested buyers must submit their offers for a property. This guide offers insight into the process before, on and following a closing date in a house sale, providing you with advice on the selling and buying process in Scotland.
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What is a closing date?
Closing dates are designed to maximise any price that a seller can obtain for their property. You are likely to encounter closing dates when you buy or sell a home in Scotland, even if they are not used in your transaction.
A closing date is typically a date and time that is set by a seller or their agent, stating the final point that offers must be received from prospective buyers. Buyers (and those acting on behalf of them) will usually aim to put forward their offers within a couple of hours of the closing date cut-off time.
Every person submitting an offer does so in the format of a blind auction, and they are therefore unaware of any other offers that have been put forward. A closing date motivates potential buyers to submit their best and final offer, which saves any hassle on both sides regarding price negotiation. This process also benefits sellers because they can compare all final offers fairly and choose one that suits them.
Does everyone who has noted interest have to make an offer?
There is no obligation to make an offer on the closing date, even if you previously noted interest in a property. At the same time, a potential buyer who hasn't noted interest can still make an offer before the closing date. If you are interested in a property and want to make a note of interest or offer, read our guide for buyers.
When does a seller create a closing date?
When a few potential buyers have raised interest in a property, the seller's estate agent or solicitor will typically suggest a closing date. It is then up to the seller to decide whether they wish to place a closing date. If the property has only been listed for a short time, for example, some sellers may prefer to wait before setting a closing date.
Most properties new to the market usually gain the most interest in their first two weeks of being advertised, but leaving a property on the market for too long could make a buyer lose interest. An experienced conveyancing solicitor will be able to advise a seller on the right time to set a closing date based on current market conditions, interest in the property and opportunities for a successful sale. For more details on selling a property in Scotland, you can read our guide here.
Does a seller have to accept the highest offer on their closing date?
A seller can choose to accept any offer presented to them, and sometimes the highest offer may not necessarily be the best option. In some cases, a seller may decide to choose a lower offer because of suggested move-in dates, or because they particularly liked the people who came to view their property. However, the seller may also decide to reject all offers made at the closing date.
What happens when an offer has been accepted?
When an offer has been accepted on a property, the seller's solicitor will inform the winning bidder, and will also inform other bidders that they have been unsuccessful in securing the property. An accepted offer cannot be renegotiated, and the solicitor is prohibited from trying to renegotiate offers with other potential buyers to get a better deal for the seller.
When all concerned parties have been advised, the solicitor will need to complete all necessary legal work (missives) as soon as possible. Missives are a series of legal letters that form a contract. Once the missives are agreed by both parties, this is known as the 'conclusion of missives', creating a binding contract between seller and buyer.
Whether you are buying or selling a property, you'll require specialised advice that is tailored to your current circumstances. With our team of conveyancing legal professionals in Scotland, you can receive tailored advice regarding the setting of closing dates, that aims to get you the best value offer for your property.
Contact our Conveyancing Lawyers Aberdeen & Edinburgh, Scotland
At andersonbain LLP, we can help if you are thinking of selling or buying your home. Our decades of conveyancing experience in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and the surrounding areas enables us to provide a professional and proactive service in the areas of property sales and purchases. Call for a free, initial consultation in Aberdeen on 01224 456 798, and in Edinburgh on 0131 228 2000, or complete our online form. Our team of conveyancing solicitors is waiting to hear from you.