A buyer wishing to make an offer needs to speak to the estate agent you have chosen to sell your property. They can do this verbally (over the phone or in person) or in writing (via post or email). However, this offer is not legally binding until exchange of contracts, therefore an offer subject to contract still allows for the price of the property to be negotiated.
The estate agent must communicate all offers to the seller in writing even when the offer has been discussed verbally. Any conditions around this offer must also be included in writing. It is also the responsibility of the agent to ensure that the buyers are in the position they state and therefore able to deliver on the offer they have put forward.
Declining and accepting offers
Declining an offer: One of the most common reasons for declining an offer is that the potential buyers have offered an amount lower than you are willing to accept. Other reasons might include the position of the buyers not being favourable to your requirements e.g. they have yet to have an offer on their own property for sale.
You do not need to make a decision right away. Think carefully about the offer being presented to you and inform your estate agent if you wish to decline.
Accepting an offer: Once you have received an offer you are happy with, inform your estate agent. Make sure you discuss all the details and agree estimated dates for exchange and completion. It can be useful to put this in writing for the estate agent and the buyer – it will not be a legally binding contract, but helps to make sure everyone is in agreement. One element to confirm is whether the property will be taken off the market following the acceptance of the offer – some sellers prefer to keep the property on the market for a while.
You are not obligated to accept an offer – you can choose which offer suits you best. This may depend on the chain with the potential buyers or the value of the offer. Discuss your options and any concerns with the estate agent.
Offer agreed – what now?
Brilliant, you are a big step closer to selling your property!
Negotiating the sale through to completion takes time and skill. There are a few tasks your chosen estate agent is now responsible for, following your acceptance of an offer:
- Written communication to all parties to confirm the agreed price and any conditions of the sale.
- Preparing a memorandum of sale.
- Ask the sellers and buyers for confirmation of their solicitor’s details.
- Take the property off the market if this has been agreed to by the seller.
It is now time to work with the estate agent to:
- Agree a date for a survey of your property.
- Agree a date for the exchange contract – also known as Exchange Date.
- Agree a proposed date for completing on the property sale – also known as Completion Date.
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During this time, your solicitors will be responsible for sending out a draft contract to the buyer’s solicitors. The buyer’s solicitors will be responsible for carrying out the preliminary enquiries. Both the estate agents and your solicitor should provide you with regular updates so that you are kept informed of the progress.