If you are interested in buying a particular property but are not yet ready or willing to offer, a Note of Interest is a first step towards ensuring (but not a guarantee) that you get an opportunity to make an offer on that property before it is sold to somebody else. A buyer who wishes to Note Interest in a property should ask their solicitor to do this for them, to do this you will need to give your solicitor:
- The address of the property
- The name of the estate agent marketing the property
- Ideally provide the agent’s phone number
So what is a Note of Interest?
A ‘note of interest’ is a potential buyer’s solicitor’s way of telling the selling agent that their client would like an opportunity to make an offer on the property that’s for sale.
A ‘Note of Interest’ is a peculiarly Scottish thing and is effectively a courtesy between solicitors, although I’ve known non-solicitor estate agents to recognise the concept too, though not necessarily in the strict way that they are applied by solicitor/estate agents as a result of the Law Society’s guidelines (see below).
Are Notes of Interest Legally Binding?
Notes of Interest are not legally binding, however, they do have some consequences as far as solicitor/estate agency firms are concerned due to Law Society guidelines which solicitor/estate agents have to follow. As a result of those Law Society Guidelines, where a seller’s solicitor/estate agent decides to set a Closing Date, they have to get in touch with every potential buyer’s solicitor who has noted interest to inform them of the Closing Date and therefore give them an opportunity to bid on the property at the Closing Date.
Does a Note of Interest Guarantee the Property Sale?
If you are a buyer, just because your solicitor has noted interest on your behalf, a seller’s solicitor/estate agent can still sell the property to another person without giving you an opportunity to offer, if that’s their client’s instructions. So it’s not a guarantee of being able to make an offer. Equally, just because more than one potential buyer’s solicitor has Noted Interest on their behalf the seller’s solicitor/estate agent doesn’t have to set a Closing Date. The Law Society guidelines do however say that the seller’s solicitor/estate agent should make all efforts to ensure that anyone who has Noted Interest is given an opportunity to make an offer.
Need More Information on Putting in A Note of Interest?
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It should also be noted that these Law Society guidelines around Notes of Interest do not apply to non-solicitor/estate agents.