We are often asked by our clients whether they should withdraw their property from the market once an acceptable offer has been made. There are a number of angles on this subject which should be considered in the context of each specific set of circumstances.
Firstly, from an ethical perspective, it could be argued that once you have agreed to sell to someone, you have given them your word, and leaving the property on the market could be regarded as a suggestion that you would renege if a “better” buyer came along. This can encourage gazumping (where a higher offer is accepted over the original one).
Some vendors would not have a problem with this. However, in practical terms, it is often the case that once the original buyer falls away in favour of the new, higher, buyer, the new buyer feels the pressure is off, and they may regret having offered more than the market price. Their offer is subsequently reduced (gazundering). This practice often serves to frustrate the vendor and even risks the sale.
However, there is little point in taking your property off the market if your buyer is not in a strong buying position or has a linked transaction. This latter situation reduces the saleability of your home to the saleability of any linked properties, over which you have no control.
So our advice is generally only to remove your property from the market, perhaps for a fixed period of time (say three weeks in which time the buyer needs to show sufficient progress) and to reassess the situation on a regular basis.
When an offer has been accepted, it’s important that the estate agent explains to all parties, exactly what will happen next so that everyone is on the same page. Sometimes there will be delays; however, the worst thing a buyer can do is go silent whilst trying to find a solution to the problem. As a proactive estate agent, with 20 years’ experience both in selling properties and managing the sales process, silence is like someone waving a big red flag in front of your face, so the best advice should a problem arise is to speak with someone and talk things through.