What is a closing date?
In Scotland, a closing date is the set time and date given for all interested parties to submit their best and final offer on a property they'd like to purchase. If your chosen property is listed on ESPC, a red banner will display if a closing date has been set on the property's listing. Not all properties go to a closing date, but they are increasingly common in a competitive market, especially in Edinburgh.
In this article, we explain everything you need to know about how a closing date works in Scotland.
What is a closing date?
In Scotland, a closing date is the set time and date given for all interested parties to submit their best and final offer on a property they'd like to purchase. All bids are 'sealed bids' - which is to say, if you are bidding at a closing date, you will not know how many other bidders there are or what their offers look like.
The selling agent will unseal the bids after the set time has passed on the closing date, and share these with the seller, who will then choose their preferred offer.
A seller will often choose the highest offer, but this is not always the case - so it is always worth making your bid as attractive as possible, by highlighting your status as a buyer and being prepared to be flexible or to move quickly.
Why are closing dates set?
Closing dates are increasingly common in Scotland, and especially in Edinburgh. This is because the property market is very competitive, with the number of buyers outweighing the number of available properties.
Closing dates allow the seller of the property to set a cut-off date for all interested parties to submit their best offer. Generally, this can mean that property prices increase because buyers don't know how many other bidders there are, but the rule of thumb is to only bid what you believe the property to be worth, and what you are happy to pay for it. Your solicitor estate agent can offer some advice on selling prices for similar properties in the area, but the final decision on how much you'd like to bid is yours alone.
How do closing dates work?
A closing date is usually set when a property has been popular with viewings and notes of interest after being listed for sale. The seller will usually opt to set a closing date within a few weeks of the property being listed for sale, and buyers who are interested in bidding should make a viewing appointment prior to this date, and appoint a solicitor estate agent.
The solicitor estate agent will then note your interest, and discuss with you if you'd like to proceed with a formal offer at the closing date. You will discuss the terms of your offer and your solicitor will submit this in writing ahead of the deadline. Your bid will be a secret one, and the selling agent is not permitted to share the terms of this with any other interested party.
Once all bids have been submitted and the deadline has passed, the seller will then review all received bids and pick their preferred option, usually on the same date. Once the offer has been accepted, the property is removed from the market and all unsuccessful bidders are contacted.
How do I know if a closing date has been set?
If your chosen property is listed on ESPC, a red banner will display if a closing date has been set on the property's listing.
If you have noted interest in a property, or have instructed your solicitor to do so, the selling agent will make them aware of a closing date.
Signing up to a free My ESPC account allows you to shortlist your favourite properties - this means that you will receive a notification if a closing date has been set on one of your shortlisted properties.
How do I make an offer at a closing date?
If you'd like to make an offer at a closing date, make sure that you have viewed the property and thoroughly read the Home Report. Let your solicitor know in plenty of time that you'd like to make an offer, and discuss the amount you'd like to bid and terms of the offer with them.
You should include details like your status as a buyer, whether you need a mortgage or to sell an existing property, how quickly you can move or how flexible you can be, a suggested entry date, and any other information, such as if you're happy for the seller to leave furniture or belongings for you to dispose of.
Should I set a closing date on the property I'm selling?
You don't have to set a closing date on a property you're selling, but it can help if your property is proving popular. Your solicitor estate agent will advise on the best course of action for your circumstances.
Do all properties go to a closing date?
Not all properties go to a closing date, but they are increasingly common in a competitive market, especially in Edinburgh.
Can I make an offer before a closing date is set?
Yes, you can make an offer before a closing date has been set.
What should I offer at a closing date?
Only you can decide what to offer at a closing date, as this will depend on your budget, affordability and what you are happy to pay for the property.
However, your solicitor estate agent can advise on the selling prices of similar properties in the area, and offer insight into the current market, to help you make your final decision.
ESPC's monthly House Price Reports are a great source of information to help you understand the current property market in your area.
How do I know if my offer has been successful at a closing date?
If your offer is successful, the selling agent will contact your solicitor estate agent to let them know - this can happen within a few hours of the closing date deadline passing, or the seller may wish to take longer to decide. It can be a nerve-wracking wait!
Your solicitor estate agent will then inform you, and the process of the transaction will begin.
Find out more
If you’re interested in finding out more about buying a home, contact ESPC Mortgages for help and advice.
Find a solicitor estate agent in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders with our handy search tool.