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Considering and Accepting an Offer On Your House

Phi Spencer

By Phil Spencer

The reality of accepting a house offer can be unnerving. Is the offer enough? Should you wait and see if more offers are on the way? There’s no right or wrong answer here as every situation is individual, and often, broader economic factors are at play.

Considering and accepting an offer on your house can be a tough process! Follow the steps outlined below to help you decide whether to accept or reject an offer on your home.

Is the price right?

You probably had multiple agents valuing your property initially. Also, you’ve hopefully done some background research into similar properties to yours which sold recently. Therefore, you should have a fairly good idea of what sort of offer you are willing to accept for your home.

9 times out of 10 the first offer will be lower than you were hoping. But, most buyers don’t expect their first offer to be accepted and will invariably knock 5% or 10% off the asking price to gauge your response.

If you’re confident in the value of your home, this process will feel easier. You will be informed on local market conditions and values being achieved. Therefore, you’ll know whether or not the offer is right for you.

How long has your home been on the market?

The timing of the offer is also likely to play a big part in whether or not it’s acceptable to you. If you have only just put your home up for sale and you receive a good offer, you may take it as a sign that the house is going to sell well and wait for further interested parties to appear.

Having said that – the best buyers are often first through the door.

In the early stages of a sale it’s probably not worth accepting a low offer. But, give a strong offer serious consideration, as it shouldn’t be dismissed simply because it’s your first.

Remember that the early days of putting your property on the market are when you will see the most activity.

Is there anyone else expressing an interest?

If you’ve received an offer, but there are still other buyers expressing interest in the property, make sure that your selling agent informs them that you have received an offer. This should help encourage other serious interest to reveal itself.

If there are two or more buyers making offers on your home, it may be possible to work the price upwards and help you achieve a better deal.

However, be cautious that buying a home is an emotional process and an emotional buyer can cool off and withdraw an offer as easily as they submitted one, leaving you back at square one. Try to figure out how committed they are.

What is the position of the potential buyer/s?

Establish how certain you are that a potential buyer can really proceed – your sales agent should be doing all of this for you but if you don’t feel you are clear on this, push them to find out.

Things you will want to know:

  • Are they a cash buyer? (if they say they are, ask for proof)
  • Are they financing their purchase through a mortgage?
  • What’s their buying position? Do they have a house to sell? If so, are they themselves under offer? Make sure your agent double checks the situation with their selling agent
  • What timings do they want, and do they fit in with yours?

When you accept an offer, it’s important that you are happy with the circumstances of the people buying your house as well as the amount they are prepared to pay.

Think carefully before accepting an offer from a buyer who hasn’t yet got their home under offer. A delayed sale on their side will prolong your sale and onward move.

If you accept an offer from someone selling who is already under offer on their sale, establish how long the chain is that they are involved in. A long and weak chain where little progress has been made can cause serious delays for you.

However, if the chain is moving and solicitors are making good progress, you can be more confident in accepting the offer with reduced risk of delays.

Ask your agent to advise you on this, but the level of certainty a buyer can offer should give you confidence in your onward moving plans.

Final steps

Try to respond swiftly when a buyer makes an offer, or be clear with your selling agent about the time you need to consider an offer.

If you consider the offer to be too low, you might feel it’s sensible to provide an immediate response. Otherwise, it’s normal to respond within 48 hours.

If the offer is close to what you are hoping for, talk to your agent about going back with a counter offer. This may help you get what you want more swiftly than a simple ‘no’.

Decide whether you want to keep all your furniture, curtains and white goods, as many of these items may not suit your next home, and can be used as effective bargaining tools to help get the price you want

Whilst your agent will be the middleman and is legally bound to present every offer that is made, it’s worth remembering you are the client and therefore their advice should always be in your best interest.

At the end of the day, the price you will be prepared to accept will depend on market conditions, quality of the buyer, how quickly you need to sell and what your moving budget is.

Compromise is often the key on both sides to securing a deal. If you feel the deal is right for you, accept your offer and get moving!

If you haven't already, engage a good solicitor for your onward conveyancing. Tell us your requirements and we'll get an approved panel member to get in touch.

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