Buying property in Scotland: The process explained

Unless you’re a property professional, the terminology used to describe the process for buying property in Scotland may leave you dazed and confused.

In Scotland we have our own legal system, so the process is different to the rest of the UK. Some of our language is different too and not just in terms of dialect. We’re experts in property in Scotland, so we’ve put together a quick guide explaining the most commonly used terms when buying a home, in Scotland.

1.    Asking prices

It’s useful to understand different ways to describe property prices. In any case, the property is only worth what you, as a buyer, are prepared to pay for it.

In all cases, buyers usually take advice from a solicitor as to how much to offer and The Home Report will tell a buyer what the property is worth.

  • Offers over, Offers in excess of
    Often seen as the seller trying to create competition between potential buyers. In a strong market or where a property is sought after, it can lead to a closing date.
  • Offers in the region of (OIRO), Offers around
    This price is usually quite close to the value of the property, according to the Home Report. These terms both mean the same – the seller can expect slightly above or slightly over the asking price, depending on the market conditions at that time.
  • Fixed Price
    From a buyer’s point of view, it can be worth offering less than the asking price at first. The seller’s agent may have advised that the Fixed Price be set at a level that offers them some flexibility. However, there is no guarantee that even offers at the full asking price will be accepted.


 2.    Home Reports

Properties for sale in Scotland must be marketed with a Home Report. This is a pack of three documents: a Single Survey, an Energy Report and a Property Questionnaire.  This report is made available on request to prospective buyers. The Home Report will give information about the condition and value of the property.


3.    Notes of Interest

When a buyer sees a property that they’re interested in but doesn’t want to make a formal offer just yet, this is where a Note of Interest can be used. This makes the estate agent aware that the buyer would like to be involved if there is a closing date on the property. The estate agent should not fix a closing date, nor accept any other offer, without allowing this potential buyer to make their own competing offer.


4.    Making an offer / Under offer / STCM 

A property is labelled Under Offer when a solicitor has made an offer on behalf of their client and if suitable, the seller’s solicitor accepts it in writing. STCM is a term used in Scotland and means that once offers are made and accepted the house is Sold Subject to Conclusion of Missives.


 5.    Closing date

Where there are several notes of interest on a property, the seller can instruct the estate agent to set a closing date. This gives all potential buyers the opportunity to make a formal offer through their solicitor – usually before midday on the deadline day. The seller can choose which offer to accept, not necessarily the highest.


6.    Missives

Once an offer has been made, solicitors exchange letters known as missives. These letters make up the formal contract between the buyer and the seller. Until the missives are concluded, either party can usually withdraw from the contract without liability.


7.    Conveyancying

The buyer will need to instruct a conveyancing solicitor – many estate agents also offer this service – to assist with every aspect of finalising the contracts for the purchase of a property. They will check the title deeds, search the Land Register for anything that could cause problems in the sale of the property, draw up the missives and agree a date of entry. They will also manage the legal transfer of the property.


8.    Date of entry

Also known as the settlement date or completion date, this is the day that is agreed for the buyer to pay the purchase price to the seller and the seller hands over the keys and legal ownership to the buyer.


Now you know what you’re talking about, search for your next property to buy or rent at and get moving!

More information about all of the terms covered in this article can also be found at


Image credit:

Leave a Reply