When Should I Accept an Offer on my House?

Author:
Sarah Ryan
Head of Property, Licensed Conveyancer
Date:
12/09/2019

The sale board is up and you’re getting viewings but what should you do when you get your first offer and how do you know when to accept that offer?

Everyone’s situation is different so there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to accepting an offer, but we can help you make your decision by looking at some of the most important things to consider below.

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How Much is the Offer?

You know how much your property’s been valued at and you’ve probably done some research on other local properties and how much they’ve sold for. With all of this in mind, you know what sort of offer you’ll accept for your house. How does the offer you’ve received stack up against that?  

Most home buyers will offer between 5% and 10% below the asking price to see how you respond. In reality, they probably won’t expect you to accept their first offer.

It’s OK to take 24 to 48 hours to think about an offer. If the offer is way below your asking price, you could reject it immediately but if not, take some time to consider the offer before responding.

Has Your Property Been on the Market Long?

If you’ve only just put your property on the market and you’ve already received an offer, you may want to wait for more offers to come in as this is a good indication that your house is in demand from buyers.

It’s not worth accepting a low offer in the early days of the sales process but if you get a good offer early on, why wouldn’t you accept?

But if your home has been on the market for a while without many offers you should consider whether it’s priced too high. Speak to your estate agent and ask them what else you could do to encourage more interest.

Whilst it would be unreasonable to make wholesale changes to the layout of the property, small changes can make a big difference. Ask your Estate Agent for feedback from previous viewings and consider what you can do to learn from the feedback. If there are lots of comments about the lounge being on the small side, you could consider rearranging or removing unnecessary furniture to make the room appear more spacious.

Is There Lots of Interest in Your Home?

It’s tempting to reject an offer if you have lots of viewings already lined up. In this situation, make sure you get the estate agent to tell the potential buyers that there is an offer on the table. Anyone who is serious about your property will soon make an offer themselves.

If you end up with two potential buyers, always take the time to review their situation and decide which one is the right fit. This isn’t always the one offering the most money either.

Your Buyer’s Position

Any offer made on a property is not legally binding until contracts are exchanged so it’s really important to ask questions about the position of any potential buyer. You’ll need to know:

  • If they are a cash buyer?
  • Are they a first-time buyer?
  • Do they have a mortgage agreed in principle?
  • Do they have a property to sell themselves? If so, is it under offer and what’s the state of the chain?
  • When are they looking to move by?

You can see that some offers will be more attractive than others. If someone is offering on your property but they have to sell their home first and it’s not yet under offer, a first-time buyer with a mortgage agreed in principle may be a more viable offer.

If you accept an offer from someone who is in a chain, find out how long the chain is and how far forward things are. A long chain has more potential to go wrong and can leave you facing long delays.

Having all the relevant information about your potential buyer can help you decide if you want to accept the offer or not.

Seal the Deal

Once you’ve given the offer some thought and you’ve decided you want to accept it, go back to your estate agent and confirm you’re happy.

If the offer is close to meeting your expectations, reject the offer but tell the agent what you would accept. This will let the buyer decide if they can meet your expectations.

You’ll need to consider if you’re taking the fixtures and contents with you as this can help to make the price seem more attractive. Don’t be afraid to throw in some curtains and some white goods if you think it will help.

Remember that until contracts are exchanged, there is no legal obligation on anyone to proceed.

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