Closing Dates - A Guide for Buyers

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A guide to understanding closing dates for home buyers offering for properties for sale in Edinburgh.

With almost all properties in Edinburgh attracting multiple buyers at the moment, as a First Time Buyer you will almost always need to make your offer at a Closing Date.

With that in mind, here's our top tips and advice for getting it right:

What is a closing date?

When there is more than one buyer interested in offering for the property, the selling agents will generally set a Closing Date so that all buyers can - through their solicitors - submit their best and final offer in writing on the same day. The seller will then decide which offer to accept.

It may seem a strange way to do things but it is a system that has worked well (for sellers) for decades and so, fair or otherwise, it is the system we have to take part in if we want to offer on a property.

I suppose the best way to describe it is that it is like an auction where you are only allowed to bid once and not knowing (1) how many other buyers are bidding and (2) what price they are bidding. So, you are bidding blind and will need to make your best and final offer.

Do all properties go to a closing date?

No, not all properties go to a Closing Date. Selling Agents most commonly set a Closing Date when there are three or more notes of interest. However, the seller is free to accept an offer from someone even though you may have noted your interest.

Although it doesn’t always work, we recommend that you view a property as soon as possible once it comes up for sale and if you like the property to note interest and make a strong offer without delay.  If the offer is high enough the seller might be tempted to accept your offer without setting a Closing Date.

How do you find out if there is a Closing Date?

Usually the selling agent will only intimate that they have set a Closing Date if you have noted your interest in the property – either by yourself or through your solicitor. And so it is important if you are interested in a property that you either contact the selling agent to note your interest or have your solicitor do so. 

It is our standard practice to note the interest of our clients when they express an interest in a property and so we would keep you updated on the progress of the marketing of that property and let you know when a Closing Date has been set.

What is the point in a closing date?

From the seller’s point of view, getting buyers to offer at a closing date is the best way for them to get the best possible price for their property as buyers will be offering “blind” (i.e. not knowing what the other buyers are offering).

Do you have to offer at a closing date?

No, you do not have to offer at a Closing Date; it is simply giving you the opportunity to submit an offer if you so wish. That said, out of courtesy, if you are not intending to offer, you should let your solicitor know so that they can let the selling agent know not to expect an offer from you.

What should I offer at a closing date?

This really depends on you and what you are prepared to offer for the property. You are offering without knowing what anyone else is offering and it is a one-time bid.

Almost inevitably in the current property market, it will mean offering above the Home Report value and it is not unusual at the moment for properties to achieve prices of between 8% and 10% over that value with a lot of properties selling for over 10% above Home Report value.

Again it is worth bearing in mind that every £ you offer above the Home Report value is another £ you will need towards your deposit, as your lender will only give you a mortgage as a percentage of the Home Report value.

Whilst we can give you guidance, at the end of the day, you need to make the final decision on what price to offer. But we shall give you assistance.

When will we find out the result of the closing date?

Generally we shall find out the same day but there are instances where for one reason or another result is not known until the following day.

What if my offer is not successful?

If your offer is not successful then that is usually it as far as this property is concerned. We are not told what the highest offer is although generally the agent will give some indication of the difference between your offer and the accepted offer.

You do not get the chance to increase your offer.

Is there a charge or fee for making an offer at a Closing Date?

This varies from solicitor to solicitor but our practice is not to charge a fee for unsuccessful offers.

And what if your offer is successful?

That is fantastic! We then move to the next phase of the Purchase Process which involves first of all you contacting your lender or mortgage advisor to let them know so that the detailed mortgage application process can begin.

Also at that time we would explain to you the next steps in the Purchase Process so that you have a clear idea of what is all involved and what we will be doing and what you will need to do and think about.


What can we do for you?

Cameron Stephen & Co. solicitors and estate agents in Edinburgh are experts in helping First Time Buyers get their foot onto the property ladder.

Every year we help many first time buyers buy their first home. And we offer a very competitive fixed fee of only £660 (£550 + VAT) for first time buyers (T&Cs apply). Find out more about our First Time Buyer Special Fee Offer.

Our First Time Buyers advice articles are also a great place to start if you are in the early stages of buying your first home and looking for some advice and guidance.

Passionate about property and providing great service at value for money.

Cameron Stephen
Partner with Cameron Stephen & Co solicitors and estate agents Edinburgh
Direct Dial 0131 555 1296


Last reviewed: 30/11/2017


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