In plain English
A closing date is the deadline for offers from anyone interested in buying your property.
In a way, it’s a kind of blind auction, as every potential buyer won’t know about any of the other offers. And in a rising housing market, this can mean solicitors acting for buyers will try to get their best offer in on the last day, often just an hour or two before the deadline.
When to set a closing date
As a seller, you don’t have to set a closing date. But your estate agent will probably ask if you want to once you have a couple of notes of interest on your property. When this time comes, think about how long the property has been on the market, how many buyers you want to attract, and whether you still have a lot of viewings booked in.
Obviously you want the most notes of interest possible, but the majority normally come through in the first couple of weeks. And the longer you leave it the more likely a potential buyer is to find something else. This is where it’s important to take your solicitor’s advice on setting a closing date. They’ll take into account your own situation, how much interest your property’s had and the wider market conditions.
Notes of interest vs offers
A note of interest isn’t the same thing as an offer. Someone who has noted interest can make an offer if they want, but it’s up to them.
Which offer to accept
You can take whichever offer you want. Accepting some offers can mean agreeing to a date of entry that doesn’t suit you, or waiting for the buyer to sell another property. It’s up to you to reject or accept as many offers as you want, and if you have a closing date this means you can compare them all at once.
What happens once you’ve accepted an offer
Your solicitor will tell the successful buyer the good news and let the other bidders know their offers weren’t chosen. They won’t try to up the stakes by playing buyers off against each other, as this is against Law Society Guidelines.
Once everyone knows the outcome, your solicitor and your buyers will work together to complete all the legal work, conclude missives and finalise the sale.
As you can see, deciding whether to have a closing date for your property sale depends on a lot of things. But an experienced lawyer will know how the current market might affect your decision, and take your personal circumstances into account.