Scotland’s system of buying and selling homes may not be perfect but it clearly has its benefits, evidenced by the fact that there are growing calls for England and Wales to follow our lead.

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments most of us will make and, if it goes wrong, it can be costly. The process of buying and selling property should be uncomplicated to allow homebuyers to focus on what matters – finding their dream home.

For anyone unfamiliar with the process, including first time buyers in Scotland, here are five simple tips to negotiate the Scottish system.

1. Home Reports: In Scotland, the Home Report is a Single Survey (an assessment by a surveyor of the condition of the home, a valuation and an accessibility audit for people with particular needs); plus an Energy Report (effectively, an EPC); and a Property Questionnaire (with information from the seller and other cost-based info that may influence a buyer).

2. Who Sells? In Scotland some sales go through solicitors’ firms with agency teams rather than ‘pure’ estate agents - although this trend is much stronger in Edinburgh, the Lothians and Aberdeen where more than 80% of non-new build homes sell through solicitor Estate agents via the ESPC and ASPC. Many homes in Scotland are sold straightforwardly through pure agents. 

3. Offers Over: Scotland has ‘offers over’ as part of the pricing structure with prospective buyers requested to note an interest with the vendor’s agent. This is usually the way that offers are then invited via a sealed bids system.

4. Gazumping: Because properties are typically taken off the market in Scotland, once an offer has been accepted, gazumping is less common here, whatever the state of the housing market in a locality. Solicitors also have to decline to act for the seller if they accept a later offer from another party, unless the original offer has fallen through.

5. Legally Binding Completion Process: In Scotland the exchange of documents between a vendor’s and a buyer’s solicitor does, eventually, lead to a point at which the transaction becomes legally binding - called conclusion of missives - failure to honour it opens the way to litigation and damages. Some agents in Scotland see flaws in their own system although few support an alternative along the lines of that operating in England and Wales and the authorities in England and Wales are considering a move towards a model more similar to that used in Scotland.  


To have your home valued by trusted experts, call Purdie & Co on 0131 346 7240 or visit