How do I decide on accepting an offer?

Thu 16 Feb 2017

When it comes to selling a property, you will be faced with having to make many decisions along the way. You’ll be asking yourself many questions; which estate agent should I use? What price should I market my property for? Is moving now the right time? and so on.

One very important decision you will face is whether to accept an offer or not…

We’ve compiled a list of questions you might be asking yourself when considering an offer; June Reeves, Sales Manager at our Burton upon Trent office, gives hints and tips on how you can make the right decision:

June Reeves Manager John German Estate Agents in Burton

1. Should I take a lower offer from a cash buyer? 

The plus side of a cash buyer is that they are financially able to proceed without relying on the sale of a house to complete. This means that you will be able to move forward with your sale, putting you in a good position regards your possible onward purchase, with minimal delay.

As with many of these decisions, you will need to weigh up whether you can realistically afford to accept the lower offer. Speak with your estate agent, as they will be experienced in making these decisions. They will also have information on any other interest that may have been shown and be able to advise if you should hold out for other buyers or indeed a higher offer.

2. Can I ask for an increase in price?

Yes. It is likely that the buyer will test your resolve with a slightly lower bid initially. This may not always be the case however as the buyer may be so keen to purchase your property that they offer the asking price. If this is the case then you should consider the benefits of accepting the offer, or whether you are bold enough to ask for an increase.

3. What do I do if I have more than one offer?

This is a great position to be in. Consider your options and the pro and cons of each offer. One may be a cash buyer with a lower offer and another could be tied into a complicated chain. Your estate agent will be available to advise you on the strengths and weaknesses of each offer.

4. How does a chain work?

It isn’t unusual for a sale to be involved with a chain. With a chain your sale or purchase relies on other transactions to go through. For example, the buyer of your house will not be able to complete until they have sold their current property therefore making a complete chain. Chains can be two or six or sometimes more transactions long, as there is no set limit to the size of the chain. The risk of this is that chains can fall through at any stage, or be delayed, by transactions down the line.

Your estate agent will be in charge of managing the chain, and doing all they can to ensure that all deals go through and recommend the next step for you. 

5. How do I find out more about the chain?

The estate agent will have relevant information about the chain, carrying out all necessary due diligence checks including finding out which solicitors have been instructed, making sure buyers have proof of funds and whether surveys are being carried out. Due to the nature of chains, some of the properties may be listed with other estate agents, and therefore information may be restricted. Your estate agent is the best person to retrieve this.

6. Is the offer sufficient to move on?

You will need to work with your financial adviser on this. They will be able to provide you with information on your ability to move. They will take into account the equity you have in the property, as well as the mortgage available to you.

7. If I accept this offer, how long will it take to complete?

On average, a sale takes around 8-12 weeks to complete following the acceptance of an offer. During this time, where applicable, a new mortgage for the property will need to be agreed, survey to take place and any other reports required e.g gas and electrical, damp and timber, drainage reports etc, searches will be carried out and the solicitors will need to be instructed

8. If I move out can I get a higher offer?

You may not necessarily get a higher offer, but it may encourage your buyer to push through their purchase. If they know their new house is empty then they are more likely to want to move in without delay.

9. If I accept this offer do I have to move?

No you do not have to move. You are not legally obliged to move until the exchange of contracts.

10. I have received an offer but haven’t found a house yet, what should I do?

You have a few options at this point. You can accept the offer subject to you finding your next home and therefore continue your search (we would recommend telling your buyer this so they do not incur costs by instructing solicitors and surveys). You can reject the offer as you have not found a property yet. Or you can look into selling your home and moving into a rental property whilst you continue your search.

Please be aware that, even after accepting the offer, the sale takes on average 8-12 weeks – so you still have time to find a new house.

11. What is the timescale for completion?

Property sale timings are extremely difficult to predict, as each scenario brings its own unique aspects and means working alongside solicitors too. The average property sale takes approximately 8-12 weeks to complete, so use this estimated timescale when planning your sale.

12. Once the offer is received, how long do the survey and searches take?

The survey ordinarily takes place within the first 2/4 weeks of the offer being accepted and local searches can take up to 3 to 4 weeks to complete. These are arranged by the buyer’s solicitor as such and there is not much you can do to speed up this process.

Low offers

1. Why have I not received any offers?

There are a number of reasons this may occur. It may be a market starved of buyers, it may be that your house is not ticking the right boxes or it may be that your pricing structure is not correct. Speak with your estate agent on the ways in which you can make your property a more appealing prospect to potential buyers.

2. Why is the offer so low?

The offer represents what the buyer believes to be a good offer and what they are happy to purchase the property for. They may just be testing the water, so you are in a position to decide whether to accept, negotiate or flat out reject the offer.  Your agent will give you their best and honest advice regards to the offer and they will take into account viewings, buyer interest and any other offers received to help you make the right decision. They will also look at comparable evidence for you (properties sold within the immediate area).

3. Has the agent got the price wrong?

Professional estate agents are experts in valuing property. They want to achieve the best price, without overpricing you from the market. Although you may have your own valuation figure in mind this may not reflect the current property market. The estate agent once again will take into account comparable for sale properties, recently sold properties and the number of buyers currently looking in the market.

4. Can I ask the agent to negotiate with the buyer?

Yes, and indeed you should. Good estate agents will handle all communications with the potential buyer and negotiate the best price for your property.

5. Should I take the property off market?

Unless your circumstances have changed, this would be a rash decision. You have received an offer, albeit a low one, so you know that your property is in demand at the right price. Consider what you could / can afford to accept and try to negotiate the buyer up to a higher price.

6. How long should I wait for a better offer?

We tend to find the best offers are made within the first few weeks of a property being advertised for sale. When it is ‘fresh’ to the market, buyers are keen to make an offer so it comes off the market. With that said, there is no set time to wait for a better offer as it depends on your current selling position and the timescales you wish to move in.

Encourage the agent to continue marketing the property, to try and drive up the value to prospective buyers. Enquire whether the property is being marketed both online and offline, to the widest potential audience.

At John German Estate Agents, we have helped many clients sell their houses over the years and are expert in negotiating the best possible sale price for our sellers.

If you are considering putting your house up for sale or struggling for offers on your property which is already on the market, get in touch with your nearest John German branch where we’ll be more than happy to give you advice on what to do next.

"Nothing was too much trouble, you went out of your way to answer questions, chase up all solicitors and generally looked after us throughout the whole process. We moved into this property in less than 4 weeks due to this. You kept your promise."
Christopher & Lindsey Orton - Happy Buyers

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