What is a ‘Date of Entry’ in Scotland When it Comes to Property? Scottish Property Guide.

This is the date on which:

  • the property buyer pays the purchase price to the property seller, and
  • the property seller gives the keys and legal ownership to the property purchaser.

It’s sometimes also referred to as the ‘settlement date’, ‘date of settlement’, ‘completion date’ or ‘date of completion’. It is a very important negotiating point when selling or buying a property as it is the date by which the seller has to move out and both parties will often want this date to correspond with the date when they move out of, or move into, another property.


14 responses to “What is a ‘Date of Entry’ in Scotland When it Comes to Property? Scottish Property Guide.”

  1. Jens U. Roesner avatar
    Jens U. Roesner

    Question: what does ‘fixed price’ imply in Scotland?
    No room for negotiations?
    Please let me know.
    Kind regards
    Jens Roesner

  2. Robert Carroll avatar
    Robert Carroll

    Useful article here Jens: http://mov8realestate.com/blog/item/92-what-does-the-asking-price-mean-in-the-scottish-property-market.html

    No matter what the asking price, there’s always potentially room for negotiation.

    It depends on a number of factors but can be summarised as: is the asking price too high and, even if not, how good is the seller’s negotiating position? If they’re in a strong position: don’t have to sell in a hurry or at all, lots of interest in the property and the asking price is set at a realistic level then there won’t be so much room for negotiation.

    The flip side is that if the seller is in a bit of a hurry (financial pressure, relocation, bought another property already), the asking price is too high or there has been no interest in the property for quite a while, they’re much more likely to come down from the asking price.

    Ultimately, the property is only worth what it’s worth: it doesn’t matter how much the seller is asking for it. And it’s only worth what someone will pay for it. Might sound a bit glib, but it really is true. If you’re the only person interested in buying it, it’s the price that they are prepared to accept that sets the value. And that might just be the price that you offer!

    Hope that helps.

  3. lucy avatar

    My Brother has bought a flat in Glasgow and he was due to get his keys today…now the lawyers are saying he can’t get them yet. Surely if everything has been done on his side he is entitled to the keys the day they originally stated? It’s the sellers who are now holding up – he personally believes that the sellers have not found another house yet and don’t want to move out! he has ordered furniture, broadband installation all for the next week and will have to cancel everything. Nightmare! Can they do this? Surely they must vacate the property before the stated ‘date of entry’?

    1. David Marshall avatar

      Many thanks for getting in touch Lucy, and I’m really sorry to hear about the issues that you have been having. I can appreciate just how frustrated yourself and your brother must be feeling.

      It is unfortunately difficult to offer guidance on your own case as there are a number of possible reasons why the date of entry could be delayed, some of which are outwith the control of the seller and indeed their solicitor.

      I would recommend, in the first instance, that your brother gets in touch with his solicitor to find out exactly what is causing the delay. They should be able to speak to the seller’s solicitor to find out what, if any, issues exist and thus provide a clear picture of what has caused the delay and how long it is likely to take to resolve.

      I hope that is of some help, and I hope to hear that your brother is able to get moved into his new home soon.

      If there’s anything else you need, do please feel free to give us a call on 0131 202 5444 and we will be happy to do what we can to assist.

      All the best,


  4. Sophie Eccles avatar
    Sophie Eccles

    My cousin is buying a flat in Glasgow but his deposit from his last house isn’t gonna be available until three days after the entry date. We told his lawyer and he said that everything is up to the seller.
    Can he still move in? the mortgage is all ready to go at the planned day.

    1. Robert Carroll avatar

      Thank you for your comment! I’m afraid that, as your cousin is already represented by another firm of solicitors, we are unable to advise as to the specifics of this case. Delays in obtaining mortgage papers are one of the most common reasons for settlements being delayed though and the resolution will depend on whether missives (the contract for the purchase of the property) are concluded or not. If they are concluded, the sale will generally go ahead but the buyer will have to pay some damages, defined in the missives, as a result of the delay. If missives aren’t concluded, it will be up to the seller as to whether they are prepared to change the agreed Date of Entry or whether the delay is likely to be significant enough that they seek to remarket the property and find another buyer. Hopefully this is helpful!

  5. Danielle McCarthy avatar
    Danielle McCarthy

    We are buying our property and have agreed on the date of 30th of September as entry day both parties agreed and signed now with 3 days to go the sellers have advised they want to change the date to a further month surely this is illegal or not aloud? We have less then 3 days and have packed up our old homes with new owners moving into our old house on the 30th. Where do we stand?

    1. Graeme MacKay avatar

      Thank you for your message Danielle. I can certainly understand your concern. Whether or not the sellers can unilaterally seek to change the date of entry will depend on whether the contract (missives) for your purchase of your new home are concluded or not (i.e. is a binding contract in place). If the contract is concluded, the sellers would be in breach of contract, if, on 30 September, they refused to give you vacant possession of the property in exchange for the purchase price. In that situation they would be liable to pay you damages for any reasonable, direct and necessary expense incurred by you, as a result of their breach of contract.

      However, if the contract for your purchase is not yet concluded, then the seller can decide not to settle on 30 September and would not be in breach of contract, and as such, not be liable to cover any costs you may incur, notwithstanding the inconvenience which this will cause to you.

      Your purchasing solicitor will be able to advise on the contractual position and should be able to advise on what options you have.

      I hope this has helped.

  6. Elaine avatar

    HAve put in verbal offer and completion date for a property
    How long do I give them to accept ?

    1. Graeme MacKay avatar

      Hi Elaine,

      Thank you for your question. Most sellers will give the offer or ‘instructions’ to their agent within 24 hours, however if they need instructions from more than one party such as a marital split or executor it may take a little longer. It may also depend on the conditions with any offers that sellers need to give extra consideration/investigations to. The selling agent will normally let them know if it is likely to take longer than the standard 24 hours for instructions.


  7. Hannah avatar

    A friend in Scotland accepted an offer without any specific proposed date of settlement; (date to be mutually agreed by both parties.) He is now into the fourth week of silence from the would-be buyer`s conveyancer – without which no such mutual agreement can possibly be reached. My elderly friend is now dangerously stressed (has cardiovascular disease.) His paralegal states that the buyer`s paralegal has, unfortunately, been on holiday..and is now off sick..but still will not be persuaded to find out who is covering her workload whilst she is out of office, usually refuses my friend`s calls or otherwise fobs him off.. For e.g: friend asks anxiously how can he know the buyer is still interested? His paralegal says: I`m sure everything will be alright. Without any mutual communication let alone agreement on any settlement date, can there even be a contract in place?

    1. Graeme MacKay avatar

      Hi Hannah, thank you for your question. Your friend should certainly be able to obtain a clear response and regular updates from the law firm/paralegal representing him. If he continues to experience a lack of contact, then he should request a call back from the line manager of the paralegal.

      Your friend’s paralegal appears to be finding it difficult to obtain information from the seller’s conveyancer. This should not be happening but, unfortunately, it does happen on occasion. No firm should be using illness, or holidays, as an excuse for not providing information about and clarification on a transaction’s date of entry. When the case manager is on holiday, this can, inevitably, lead to a slight delay in progress with a transaction, but when it relates to something as critical as the date of entry, it should not prevent progress.

      Given no date of entry has been agreed, there will definitely be no binding contract in place at the moment. Ideally, the date of entry should be agreed at the same time the price is agreed (i.e. at the time the offer is submitted) but sometimes this is not possible, e.g. if the purchaser still has a property to sell or, if the seller still has to find a property to purchase.

      I hope this helps.

  8. Nicky Bakonyi avatar
    Nicky Bakonyi

    Is there such a thing as delayed settlement in Scotland?
    If a house is sold in July or August can settlement be delayed till September 1?

    1. Abby Fraser-Davidson avatar
      Abby Fraser-Davidson

      Hi Nicky, Thank you for your enquiry. When an offer is agreed for a property, the two main points of the transaction are agreed at that stage, namely the price and date of entry (the date on which the price is paid, in exchange for the keys and vacant possession). The date of entry is also known as the settlement date, or completion date.

      In most transactions, especially those involving the purchaser obtaining a mortgage, the agreed date of entry is normally at least 6-8 weeks away from the date on which the offer is agreed for the property. That is to allow time for the purchaser to receive their mortgage offer (at the stage of offering for a property, a purchaser should always have mortgage approval in principle, but they cannot apply for the actual mortgage until the main points of the offer are agreed) and for the conveyancing work to be carried out.

      If you have any more questions on this, please feel free to get in touch with our property purchasing team at [email protected].

      Many thanks, MOV8

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