Buying and selling a property can be a stressful time for people, especially if it’s something that you haven’t done before. Adding to the stress is the fact that conveyancing – the legal work that’s done after you’ve agreed the key parts of an offer for a place you’re buying or selling – often features confusing jargon.
Warners' Jargon Busting articles are here to help – giving you plain English answers to some of the most common questions that we are asked.
Today we look at the subject of closing dates and how these work for buyers and sellers.
What is a Closing Date?
When most people put their property on the market in Scotland, they are hoping that it will go to a closing date. A closing date is simply a date and time, set by the seller’s agent, by which offers must have been received from any parties interested in purchasing the property.
In practise, solicitors acting for buyers will normally aim to get their offers in an hour or two before the deadline, but on the actual date of closing.
Closing dates work as a blind auction meaning that each person submitting an offer does not know details of any other offers that may be submitted. Because of this buyers are motivated to submit their best offer for a property at a closing date, especially in a rising market.
When Will a Seller Set a Closing Date?
Once a seller has two or more notes of interest on their property their solicitor estate agent will normally speak to them about whether they wish to set a closing date. The seller isn’t under any obligation to do so and may decide to leave the property on the market a little longer, especially if it has only recently been advertised or if they have a number of viewers booked in who have yet to see the property.
When noting interest in a property, a buyer’s solicitor will ask how many other notes of interest there are on the property. The more notes of interest, the higher the level of competition and the more a buyer is likely to have to offer to secure a property.
As a seller, you don’t want to leave your property on the market too long just to gather more notes of interest though. Properties typically attract most interest during their first couple of weeks on the market and you don’t want to run the risk of potential buyers seeing something else and losing interest in your property. A good solicitor will be able to advise you on when best to set a closing date based on market conditions, the interest in your property and your own circumstances.
Does Everyone Who Has Noted Interest Have to Submit an Offer?
No, just because somebody has noted interest doesn’t mean that they are under any obligation to make an offer. Equally there is nothing to stop somebody who has not noted interest from making an offer.
Does the Seller Have to Accept the Highest Offer at a Closing Date?
No. Sellers may choose to accept a lower offer for a variety of reasons. The highest offer may be subject to the sale of another property, or require a date of entry that isn’t suitable for the seller. In some cases, sellers will even choose to accept a lower offer simply because they really liked one of the people who made an offer for their property.
The seller may also decide to reject all offers received at the closing date and continue marketing their property.
What Happens Once an Offer Has Been Accepted?
Once an offer has been accepted the seller’s solicitor will let the successful bidder know and advise any other parties who offered that they have been unsuccessful. The seller’s solicitor is prohibited by Law Society Guidelines from playing offers off against one another.
Once everyone has been advised, the buying and selling solicitor will work to complete the legal work on the sale, aiming to get missives concluded as quickly as possible for their respective clients.
If you’re thinking of moving home or if you have a question about buying or selling, give Warners a call today on 0131 667 0232 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, if you’d like to find out how much your home is worth you can book a free, no-obligation valuation today