Your Options When Buying A House

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You may not know that when it comes to buying a house, there are a few different ways that the vendor (seller) can choose for you to put your offer. Before you jump headlong into a bid, know what those options are.

You'd think there's only one or two options open to you when you're looking to buy a house. Actually there are more ways than you'd think, so make sure you get to grips with each of them, especially the sealed bids option!

Sealed Bids

Sealed bids are most common way of buying a house in Scotland (although this is changing a little now with more 'Fixed Price' houses starting to appear). In effect, through your solicitor, you say what you're willing to pay and this is sent to the sellers solicitor and the offer 'sealed'. This is usually only done where a house is "Offers Over".

The idea is that you put in a bid for what you think will win you the house. Typically that can mean paying between 5 and 25% more than the offer over price.

Open Bids

Again a bid is entered for a property, but it is not a blind bid and any other party can ask to see what the highest bid is to see whether they want to counter that bid or not.

Off Plan - Home Not Yet Built

If you decide to buy a newly built house or flat, it's vital that you know whether the builders are members of the National House Building Council (NHBC) scheme. Around 85% of new homes fall into this category, which means that the property comes with a NHBC warranty and insurance services.

The NHBC's ten-year Buildmark Cover protects buyers of new homes against specified defects that occur because the builder has not complied with NHBC Standards. Problems can then be rectified even if the contractor has gone out of business.


The more normal route for most will be a simple offer placed in via the agent which you then have to wait for a reply from the seller as to whether it is accepted. Of course what can also happen is that 'gazumping' can also take place after your offer has been accepted. This is the strange world of when a legal offer ceases to be the legal offer, because a higher one trumps it.


Finally, the other popular route is to buy a house at auction. There are increasing ways to find some real bargains - but it's not for the faint-hearted!! First of all register with the auction house selling the lots you're interested in. Usually local auction houses handle local sales, but with higher value properties it can be a national auction house.

Make sure you read the small print for additional charges on top of the sales price.

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