When I moved from London to Edinburgh, I realised the big difference between the way houses are bought and sold in Scotland , and how it is done in England.

I know some folks living in England might not like to hear this, but the housing system of conveyancing in Scotland , I find, is a LOT MORE EFFECIENT, FAR SUPERIOR AND A LOT FASTER than in England (and Wales).

It took me several months to get the sales of my house  through in England, but in Scotland, I managed to offer, buy and own it in a matter of a couple of days !

For those who are not aware of how house sales works in England (and Wales) , and in Scotland, it goes something like this:


In England, the vendor puts on his house for sale. The buyer sees the property, likes it and makes a bid. The vendor can accept the offer. However, the acceptance of the offer is not legally binding. If the vendor has another buyer who offers a higher price, he can turn change his mind with the first offer from the first buyer (i.e. "gazumping"). Likewise, if the buyer sees another property, he can say to the vendor he has changed his mind and move away. This could be he has found another property. The buyer can also wait until everyone is ready to exchange contracts before deciding to lower the offer on the property, threatening the collapse of a whole chain of house sales waiting for the deal to go through (the word "gazundering" is often used).

To make the tedious sale of the house take even longer go through in England and Wales, the buyer then usually have to go to a bank or building society after the bid of the property has been accepted,  to apply for a mortgage. Before the mortgage is approved, the lending bank or building society then send a surveyor who comes to see the property and then makes a report. The Lending bank then wait for the surveyor to write and send the report. They have to receive it, read it and only then decide whether to approve the mortgage.  This can take weeks – if not months.


This is not the same in Scotland. Under Scots Law, in their system of conveyancing, the survey is often made prior to a bid – or a bid is made "subject to survey". However, the buyer would have secured the mortgage BEFORE he makes the bid. The sale can go through in a matter of days !

When you make a bid in Scotland (unlike in England and Wales)and it is accepted, that is legally  binding. The buyer can face a hefty penalty, or even be sued, if he changes his mind. Likewise, the seller has to keep his side of the bargain. As a result, both "gazumping" and "gazundering" are extremely rare in Scotland.

In Scotland, there is also less chance of the collapse of the housing sales chain because of the failure of one deal along the chain.

I have spoken to estate agents in England and they all seem to agree the Scottish system of conveyancing is better. So why has it not been adopted in England? Is it because of "Pride" to refuse any idea from "North of the Border"?

If England (and Wales) were to adopt the Scottish system of conveyancing, house sales would go through more smoothly and faster. There is less gazumping and gazundering , and there is less chance of collapse of the housing sales chain. This could improve the housing market – and of course, it will help the TREASURY as well with more money from stamp duties.

Why is this idea important?


England and Wales in relation to conveyancing.

Scotland (who are often solicitors) is only  a fraction of the commission charged in England? Gosh, talking about "Rip of Britain", it's more like "Rip off England (from many Estate Agents)!

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