What Does Under Offer Mean in Scotland? What Does Sold Subject to Conclusion of Missives Mean in Scotland?

When a seller’s estate agent or solicitor/estate agent accepts an offer from a buyer, even verbally, the property is ‘Under Offer’ or ‘Sold Subject to Conclusion of Missives’. Legally, this status means very little. Until there is a binding, written contract (in other words, ‘missives are concluded’) then the sale is little more than theoretical. Indeed, the seller, legally, can find another buyer and sell to that party and the buyer can walk away from the purchase.

Under Offer is a slightly vague term that means different things to different people. It does, however, have a significance to solicitor/estate agents as it relates to Law Society guidelines that are designed to prevent gazumping in Scotland.  See here:

The meaning of ‘Sold Subject to Conclusion of Missives’ is more intuitive, but in Scotland it tends to be used less than ‘Under Offer’.

You will see both of these expressions on stickers on estate agents’ For Sale Boards and on property websites such as Rightmove. Neither of them prevents a buyer from submitting an offer on a property. However, if the estate agent is a solicitor/estate agent, they will potentially be resistant to taking such an offer to their client. Law Society of Scotland rules state that they must withdraw from acting for their client if their client wishes to negotiate the offer from the new, prospective buyer.  

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