May 27, 2016
Should we accept the offer?

When you are planning to move house it can be tempting to accept the first buyer who comes along with an attractive offer. However, buyers come in all shapes and sizes, and it is important to assess your purchaser’s ability to perform before accepting any offer.

We often receive offers from people who themselves have a property to sell that is not yet under offer. Depending on the circumstances, our advice is generally to be cautious about accepting such an offer. The main reason is that by accepting the offer, you would effectively be linking – and possibly reducing, the saleability of your own property to the saleability of theirs. Their property may not be as saleable as yours, so you would need to check this out first. Whilst they might tell you that it is likely to sell quickly because of its immaculate presentation, character or stunning views, these attributes do not necessarily make it a saleable proposition if the price is too high. If, of course, their property is regarded as being more saleable than yours, then it might well be worth accepting their offer.

What about your buyer’s financial ability? Do they have confirmation from a recognised lender confirming that they qualify for the right size of mortgage, subject only to your property being suitable for mortgage purposes? You could also ask for their solicitor to confirm that any other monies required are available.

By accepting an offer from someone who has a property to sell, you risk slowing down your move, and in doing so you also risk your property becoming an old chestnut should their offer subsequently fall through and the property has to be remarketed some time later.

There is more to selling your home than finding a buyer, and whilst at times you may not have many offers from which to choose from, it’s always worth pausing for a moment to assess whether the market will bring about a similar offer from a buyer in a better buying position. You could suggest accepting the offer on the basis that the buyer is able to complete the chain within a set period of time, and that during this time your property will remain on the market.

On the flip side you may receive offers for less money than you were hoping for, and subsequently decide to hold fire until the right offer comes along.

Other agents may contact you suggesting they can achieve more for your property, which in itself can be very tempting, especially if your own expectations have recently taken a blow.

In such a scenario, does the agent have comparable evidence to support their view or are they simply trying to win you over, so they at least stand a chance of earning a commission, if they get lucky? If they sold the house next door, at the price they are suggesting, then perhaps they have reason to be confident. If they cannot produce any genuine evidence to support their claim, you may end up declining offers generated by your chosen agent, only to feel regretful several weeks later.

It will often help if you work out the price you need to sell for, along with the price you and your agent expect the property to sell for. This way when an offer does arrive, you can weigh it up on merit and factor in the level of interest your property has received since it hit the market.

Buying and selling property can be an emotional time so it’s important to keep a level head and work on facts, evidence and take on board expert advice.