Cottages For Sale In Scotland

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Over the last decade, cottages for sale in Scotland have seen a huge surge in demand from buyers looking for a better quality of life in the Scottish countryside.

The demand for Scottish cottages has driven a price increase which some find difficult to understand, however in this article we will show you the best way to find the property of your dreams at a reasonable cost.

We’ll talk about the different types of cottages for sale in Scotland, including more remote rural cottages in Scotland, properties which could be renovated and turned into beautiful homes, and tell you a revealing story about one couple who changed their lives just by moving to a remote property in the Scottish highlands.

Sit back and come with us on a journey around Scotland, looking at different property types, locations and alternative options for those looking for the perfect cottages for sale in Scotland.

Photo of thatched cottages for sale in Scotland.
Thatched cottages for sale in Scotland are not easy to find as thatching material is not commonly used in Scotland, however there are some beautiful thatched cottages like these ones in Camserney. Photo © Trevor Littlewood (cc-by-sa/2.0).

The Demand For Cottages In Scotland

The demand for cottages in Scotland has escalated dramatically over the last two decades, significantly impacting their market value.

This surge in interest is attributed to individuals and families seeking an improved lifestyle in the serene and picturesque Scottish countryside, drawn by its natural beauty and tranquility. Consequently, the sale price of cottages for sale in Scotland has increased dramatically compared to previous years.

This trend is not just a reflection of the cottages’ aesthetic and historical appeal but also of a growing desire for a lifestyle that blends rural charm with accessibility to Scotland’s rich cultural tapestry.

While in previous years buyers would have been reluctant to move to more remote areas, this culture has changed over the last decade. Many people around the UK are now actively looking for countryside properties and are much more willing to consider more rural property in Scotland as a real possibility.

This demand has driven a surge in interest in the property market in Scotland, particularly when it comes to more remote properties such as highland cottages, crofts and other types of buildings which could become homes.

Photo showing a beautifully renovated cottage for sale in Scotland.
Not all cottages for sale in Scotland are in the countryside, and the type of cottage you should look for will be largely dictated by your budget. Photo © M J Richardson (cc-by-sa/2.0).

Types of Cottages For Sale In Scotland

Scotland offers a diverse array of cottages for sale, each with its own unique charm and appeal.

From traditional croft houses that echo the country’s agricultural heritage to secluded hideaways offering peace and tranquility, the variety of cottages available caters to a wide range of preferences and lifestyles.

Below are some of the most sought-after types of cottages for sale in Scotland, each offering a unique way to experience the Scottish way of life.

  • Croft Houses: Typically found in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, croft houses are emblematic of Scotland’s rural past, perfect for those looking for a smallholding for sale in Scotland.
  • Gatehouses: Often located at the entrance of larger country estates, gatehouses offer a unique blend of history and charm, serving as cozy, compact homes with a story to tell.
  • Coastal Cottages: Situated along Scotland’s stunning coastline, these coastal properties offer breathtaking sea views and easy access to rugged beaches and coastal paths.
  • Remote Properties: For those seeking solitude and a deep connection with nature, remote cottages in secluded locations provide a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
  • Cottages with Land: Ideal for gardening enthusiasts or those looking to keep animals, these properties are perfect for buyers looking for a house with land for sale.
  • Converted Buildings: From old mills to barns, including some unusual properties, these cottages have been transformed into unique homes, combining modern comforts with historical character.
Photo showing a coastal cottage for sale in Scotland.
If you are looking for coastal cottages for sale in Scotland, don’t rule out the Scottish islands. You are much more likely to find a cottage at a more reasonable price. Photo © Julian Paren (cc-by-sa/2.0).

The Price Of Cottages In Scotland

As we mentioned above, the price of cottages for sale in Scotland has increased dramatically over the last one or two decades.

Cottages in remote areas, such as the Isle of Skye, which would have once sold for £40-£50K now regularly sell for £350,000 – £400,000. Consider this from the point of view of local people, many of whom have now been completely priced out of market when it comes to detached properties in their home area.

This, however, is a market trend which is reflected in many parts of the UK. Below is a table which gives the general prices detached cottages sell for in different parts of Scotland.

Please note these prices are based on the latest data available and are simply a guideline and individual properties may vary greatly depending on location, condition and competition.

Area Of ScotlandPrice Of Detached Cottages
Highlands & Islands£280,000+
The Lothians£300,000
Argyll & Bute£245,000
Dumfries & Galloway£200,000
Scottish Borders£225,000
Central Scotland£255,000
West Coast & Isles£260,000
Data source: National House Price Index
A detached cottage suitable for a family home in Scotland.
Prices of detached cottages for sale in Scotland vary wildly depending on the area, the local market demand and the condition of the property.

Buying Cottages In Scotland: The ‘Offers Over’ System

In Scotland, the “offers over” system is a prevalent method in the property buying process, particularly noted in the sale of cottages and other homes.

This system indicates that the seller is inviting offers above a specified amount, setting a minimum bid level for potential buyers. It’s designed to stimulate competitive bidding, especially in high-demand areas, potentially driving the final sale price above the initial “offers over” figure.

In the ‘offers over’ system, it is closed bids, so you do not know what other people are offering for a property. However, an accepted bid is legally binding, so in Scotland you cannot be “gazumped”.

In the past, the offers over system worked well and people selling cottages in Scotland would generally ask for offers over the actual value. In reality you could offer whatever you wanted, but as a general rule, the offers over did not exceed around 10% of the value.

If an owner wanted to sell their cottage for around £100K, and it was valued at £100K, they would probably advertise their cottage for sale with offers over £100K.

Nowadays, buyers coming from more affluent areas of the UK are often engaged in bidding wars with other buyers, especially for detached cottages and country houses. On rare occasions, bids can exceed the invited offer price by as much as 50% for Scottish cottages, especially is much sought-after areas.

A beautiful cottage for sale in Scotland.
On occasion certain cottages for sale in Scotland can start bidding wars between potential buyers, as happened with a cottage on the Isle of Skye. Photo © Astrid H (cc-by-sa/2.0).

Bidding On Cottages For Sale In Scotland: A True Story

In 2022, a couple from the north of England sold their property and began their search for a rural property for sale on the beautiful Isle of Skye, on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands.

After much searching they found their dream cottage, a former croft house with beautiful sea views. The cottage needed attention and while it was livable, the couple realised they would need a renovation budget on top of the price of the property. However, they fell in love with the little house.

The cottage in Scotland was advertised for sale with offers over £220,000, which was higher than the couple expected given the condition of the house. After taking advice from a local estate agent, the couple placed a bid of £240,000, believing that exceeding the asking price by 10% would be enough for them to secure the cottage.

There were twelve bids lodged for the property and, much to their amazement and disappointment, the cottage sold for £360,000, exceeding the budget they had available by a substantial amount.

On occasion, especially if buyers have sold properties further south in the UK for much larger sums, some bidders can be determined to buy a cottage for sale in Scotland they are set on, and will massively overbid in order to get the cottage.

The moral of the story is simple: bid only what you can afford and stay away from excessive bidding.

Photo showing a cottage for sale in scotland which needs to be renovated.
One way to save money is to look for cottages in Scotland which need to be renovated. Photo © Craig Wallace (cc-by-sa/2.0).

Renovation Cottages For Sale In Scotland

One way to potentially save a lot of money is to look for cottages for sale in Scotland which require partial or total renovation.

There are many cottages like this in Scotland, especially in more remote and rural areas, which could mean the potential of acquiring a country home for much less money. Of course, the renovation itself costs money but after you have rejuvenated the property these costs should be reflected in the revised value.

Another possibility is to consider buying an abandoned property for sale in Scotland with the view to living off grid in the countryside. This could open new avenues for a rural lifestyle and this option is being considered by more and more buyers.

Of course, buying a derelict property for sale has its own challenges, but with such a variety of properties available the possibility should appeal to those not afraid of renovating an older cottage.

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