Home / Insights / Buying and selling property in Scotland vs. England

Buying and selling property in Scotland vs. England

Metta Stockman


If you live in England but are considering moving to Scotland, it’s important to know the major differences in buying and selling property in Scotland vs. England.


Selling a property

In Scotland:

  • The seller engages a solicitor estate agent to handle both marketing and conveyancing.
  • A Home Report is required, including a property survey, energy efficiency certificate, and homeowner’s questionnaire, so buyers can find out lots of information about a property before they commit to it.
  • Properties are listed with either a fixed price or ‘offers over’ price, often selling for more than the listed amount.

In England:

  • Sellers engage an estate agent for marketing and a solicitor for conveyancing after accepting an offer.
  • Only an EPC certificate is required.
  • Properties are listed with a negotiable asking price, often leading to offers below the listed amount.
  • If a buyer wants to know more in-depth information about the condition of a property, they can generally order a survey after their offer has been accepted.


Making an offer on a property

In Scotland:

  • Buyers must appoint a Scottish solicitor to make an offer.
  • Offers are made via a formal written process, sometimes leading to a closing date where all offers are considered simultaneously.
  • ‘Gazumping’, a familiar threat to those buying a home in England (when a person offers more money than the accepted bid, sometimes throwing the agreed sale into jeopardy) is less common when buying a home in Scotland, as when an offer is formally accepted on a property, it is taken off the market.

In England:

  • Buyers make offers directly to the estate agent or owner.
  • Offers and terms are agreed upon upfront, often leading to negotiations.


The conveyancing process

In Scotland:

  • The sale becomes legally binding after the exchange of missives (formal letters).
  • This generally happens sooner in the process, reducing the risk of the sale falling through.

In England:

  • The sale becomes legally binding only after the exchange of contracts, which happens close to the completion date.
  • This can lead to a higher risk of the sale falling through.


LBTT vs. Stamp Duty

In Scotland:

  • Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) applies, with different bands and rates.
  • First-time buyers are exempt up to £175,000.
  • If you are buying a second home, an Additional Dwelling Supplement may apply on top of LBTT.

In England:

  • Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) applies to properties priced at £125,000 and above.


Selling in England and buying in Scotland (or vice versa)

  • Selling in Scotland and buying in England is generally smoother due to the binding nature of missives in Scotland.
  • Selling in England and buying in Scotland can be challenging due to the late exchange of contracts in England.
  • Two solicitors are needed to handle transactions: one familiar with English law and one with Scottish law.


Find out more

If you’re interested in finding out more about buying or selling a property in Scotland, speak to a TSPC solicitor estate agent.