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How do you sell a home in Scotland?

Selling a home in Scotland is a bit different to selling a home in England and Wales. Here’s how it works.

Words by: Nic Hopkirk

Senior Editor

When you sell a home in Scotland, the first thing you’ll need to do is get a Home Report prepared.

You’ll need to be able to give it to your buyer within nine days of them asking for it.

1. What’s in a Home Report when selling a home in Scotland?

The Home Report is made up of three parts:

  1. a single survey and valuation

  2. an energy report

  3. a property questionnaire

Single survey and valuation

The single survey and valuation needs to be done by a chartered surveyor.

The survey part tells the buyer about the home, the condition it’s in, how accessible it is and lists any repairs that might need to be carried out.

If a lot of repairs need to be done, it could affect the value of your home.

So you may need to choose to either carry them out yourself, or to be prepared to accept a lower valuation.

The valuation part gives an opinion of how much the property is worth.

Thinking of selling?

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Energy report

Energy reports are a legal requirement for homes in Scotland, England and Wales. It’s illegal to sell a home without one.

The energy report gives an indication of how energy efficient a home is and is produced in the form of an Energy Performance Certificate - or EPC.

It also tells your buyer roughly how much their heating, lighting and hot water bills are likely to be. 

It rates the home’s impact in terms of carbon dioxide emissions and suggests ways to improve its energy efficiency and save on fuel costs.

Find an EPC assessor in Scotland

Property questionnaire

The property questionnaire part of a home report covers 16 different categories and is designed to give the buyer more information about the home.

It covers things like:

  • the home's council tax band

  • any issues that may have affected the home in the past, like fire damage, storm damage or asbestos

  • any alterations or extensions that have been made to the home

  • details of any specialist works or guarantees

  • details of any notices that might affect the home

Exceptions where the seller doesn’t need to produce a Home Report

There are some circumstances where the seller doesn’t need to produce a Home Report in Scotland. They include:

  • new houses that are being sold off-plan or to the first occupier

  • newly converted homes that haven't been used in their converted state yet

  • dual-use homes used for both residential and non-residential purposes

  • seasonal holiday homes that can only be used at certain times of the year (not second or holiday homes you could use all year if you wanted)

  • houses that have been on the market since before 1 December 2008

However, the seller would still need to produce an EPC for the buyer in these situations.

Can a seller refuse to produce a Home Report in Scotland?

Yes, under certain circumstances, such as:

  • you don't believe the buyer is seriously interested in buying your home

  • you believe the buyer doesn't have enough money to buy your home

  • you'd prefer not to sell your house to the buyer (though you can't discriminate against them as that would be illegal)

River Tay embankment in Perth, Scotland

2. What does ‘offers over’ mean in Scotland?

Most homes in Scotland are sold through a 'blind bidding' system. That means the seller will ask for offers over or around a minimum price.

Interested buyers give sealed bids and suggest a timescale for moving in. The highest bidder will win and will be informed on the same day.

Sometimes properties are advertised at much lower prices than the seller would be willing to accept, in order to generate plenty of interest from prospective buyers. 

It's a good idea for buyers to check the Home Valuation report to give them a steer on what the property is worth when bidding.

The seller will receive 'notes of interest' from interested buyers, which helps them to gauge how much demand there is for their home.

It can all be about location, location, location. 

If your home’s in a popular area, it may attract bids 20% above the 'offers over' indication. Less popular properties may attract just 5%.

Some homes, but not many, are also sold at a fixed price in Scotland. When that happens, the first person to offer the amount will snag the home.

This type of sale happens when market conditions are challenging or the seller wants a quick sale.

3. A solicitor will market your home in Scotland, rather than an estate agent

In Scotland, properties are often marketed by legal firms offering an estate agency service.

Even if you decide to sell your property yourself, you'll need to bring in a solicitor to handle the conveyancing side of the process.

Your solicitor will negotiate the selling price and handle the negotiating and accepting of any offers on your behalf. 

This exchange of letters signed by the solicitors is known as the 'missives'. 

Once their terms are finally agreed, there is a concluded and binding contract.

Even after a buyer’s offer is accepted, your solicitor will carry out further checks on the property, in relation to building work or repairs for example. 

They’ll be answering questions from your buyer’s solicitor, as the latter carries out the searches on their behalf. 

These include checking the Land Registry and local authority information around the property’s planning history. 

They’ll also gather information about any potential developments around roads, drainage and mining near the property.

What searches are done when buying a house?

They’ll then draw up the new title deeds and transfer ownership of the property. 

They’ll collect the money from the sale, repay your existing mortgage if you have one and arrange for any surplus to be put towards the purchase of your new home.

Looking for a conveyancer?

We've partnered with Yourkeys to bring you their range of professionals who’ll meet all your needs.

Can you sell a house without a solicitor in Scotland?

You can choose to market your house without a solicitor in Scotland, but the legal side of the sale must be handled by a solicitor.

You’ll also need to employ a surveyor to carry out the Home Report.

What tax do you pay when you sell a house in Scotland?

You don't pay any tax when selling your main residence in Scotland to move to your next main residence.

Only the buyer pays the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax that's charged when purchasing a property.

Land and Building Transaction Tax rates in Scotland

Property priceLand and Buildings Transaction Tax rates
£0 - £145,000 0%
£145,000 to £250,0002%
£250,000 to £325,0005%
£325,000 to £750,00010%
Over £750,00012%

Looking for a home in Scotland?

We have thousands of homes available for sale in Scotland on Zoopla.

Filter by area, the number of bedrooms you need or add in special details such as 'conservatory' or 'big garden' to our search filters to narrow down your search.

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We try to make sure that the information here is accurate at the time of publishing. But the property market moves fast and some information may now be out of date. Zoopla Property Group accepts no responsibility or liability for any decisions you make based on the information provided.