Making and accepting offers – what’s the etiquette?

Buying or selling a home can be nerve-wracking. That bit in the middle - once an offer's been accepted but before everything's formalised - can be fraught with worry. A lot of that’s down to UK property law and the fact that, until contracts are exchanged, an offer isn’t legally binding. So here's our tips on how you can you help make sure the offer you make or have accepted progresses as smoothly as possible.

Making an offer

Be certain: Ask yourself a few questions to double check you’re not getting carried away; things like: is it within budget? Can you picture yourself here? Does it match your must have list?

It goes without saying that making and then retracting an offer is bad form so best be sure before committing!

Offer amount: A lot depends on the current market situation and the popularity of the area or house. You don’t want to offer too little and risk losing your dream home, equally you don’t want to go too high when you don’t need to.

Keep a close eye on what’s happening locally – same street ideally. This should help you gauge whether or not you can put in a lower offer and begin a negotiation or if you need to match the asking price.

Survey: It’s a good idea to get your survey done ASAP once your offer has been accepted. If it throws anything up you may be able to negotiate the price or you may even decide to pull out at this point. Whether a survey simply confirms what you know or highlights issues, getting this stage completed early on, is a vital step.

Accepting an offer

Offer amount: Be guided by your estate agent but the price you want to list your home for and the amount you accept is entirely your decision. You may decide to go with a chain free first-time buyer if time is tight. You may decide to accept an offer under the asking price if the buyer is a cash buyer and not dependent on getting a mortgage approved. You might also really like one of the potential buyers. Remember you may well have some contact with the buyer(s) between offer and completion.

Second viewings: Are you happy to have the buyer(s) visit for subsequent viewings and even for measuring up? Be clear if you’re not keen but perhaps allow them to come round with the estate agent. Anything that can help the process go smoothly is a good bet.

girl measuring

Survey: Be prepared for negotiation if it’s likely the survey will highlight issues. Are you prepared to agree on a lower price in order to keep the buyer(s) and not go back on the market? Or will you stick to your guns? Some flexibility at this stage may save the sale.

Buyers and sellers admin: It’s really important that all parties respond in a timely manner to correspondence. Sign documents promptly and answer questions and queries as quickly as possible to keep everything on track.

Choosing the right company that will support you through the process and speed things along is key. If you’re about to buy or sell, contact us for a quote and to find out about how we can help you on your way.

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