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Why best and final offers doesn’t always get homeowners the best price

As a prospective property buyer you have fallen in love with your dream home and want to make an offer. You call the estate agent to make an offer thinking that you'll be the only one. However you then hear the dreaded words. "Due to the considerable interest received we are asking for best and final offers by x date and time"

As a professional property buyer, I find these words extremely frustrating. ‎There are numerous reasons why I don't think this is a fair way to sell a property. First, many buyers would be put off by this approach and might choose to go elsewhere and forget the chase altogether. It's a scary prospect for a typical buyer having to complete a form with your financial information, whilst you sit around for days biting your nails with worry hoping that you will get a call with the winning ticket.

Secondly you don't want to pay too much, however equally you don't want to offer too little. My main problem when selling is that estate agents generally take this process too seriously. As a seller, how do I know that the applicants who lost out wouldn't have offered more if given the chance?

In many cases the winning bidder ends up having a mortgage survey and the property gets down-valued, in which case this isn't fair nor transparent for another buyer who possibly offered a few thousand less, although with cash funds available to cover the difference should the property get down-valued.

Accepting the offer

When accepting an offer for a property, I like to consider all of the following;

1) What is the financial position of the buyer? If cash, has the agents seen proof of funds or a letter from their solicitor/accountant confirming this?

2) What is their proposed timescale? The most important thing to bear in mind is that you need to have your interests aligned. Ie the date that the buyer wants to move in works for you too. If you sell your property in January but need to move by March, then you need to ensure that your buyer has no reasons why this isn't achievable.

3) Is there a chain? If so, how complicated and long is this. Ideally you don't want more than two links in the chain as otherwise there is far greater risk of a sale falling through. To avoid potential fall- throughs, you could consider a quick cash sale to a professional house buyer.

4) ‎Are there any conditions of the offer? These conditions might include; timescale, survey, investigations, remedial works? Surveyors can occasionally dig for problems and therefore if you have a missing gutter, or leaking taps, it would be advisable to fix any issues before the house goes on the market.

You might also want to find out further information about the buyers. Common problems when buying a house including break-ups, death, family issues etc.

If you are a homeowner and would prefer a fast house sale, then a professional house buyer can help you.

Published on 29th July 2015

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