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One of the most exciting parts of the house sale process is receiving offers from buyers. At this point, sellers receive one or multiple offers from prospective buyers, before going back with counter offer on house until a final agreement is made that both parties are satisfied with. Nothing is legally binding at this point. However, it is the legal obligation of the estate agent to communicate all offers and send a written confirmation of those offers, too.

Some sellers have a very clear idea in mind in terms of offers they will and won’t consider, in which case the agent may have been advised to automatically reject all those that fall below a particular price point. While it’s good to have a clear hallmark in mind, it is worthwhile considering the different offers that you’re presented with, as they each have their own positives and negatives. You may find that while a prospective buyer begins the process with a figure that’s £10k below ask, they benefit from a zero contingency position, with the added advantage of being an all cash buyer. This offer may be more attractive to a seller than that of someone who is willing to pay full ask, but still hasn’t sold their home. The quality of an offer is impacted by a variety of factors, and so it’s worth assessing the pros and cons of each individual offers.

It's best not to start negotiating house price after offer accepted, so you may wish to consider some of the following questions before moving ahead with an offer.

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Things to consider before accepting an offer 

1. First and foremost, Is the buyer ready? 

While your buyer may have enthusiasm on their side and they might say all the right things, if they aren’t physically in a position to proceed with their offer, they may not be quite as secure as you’d like.  

There are a few reliable indicators which will prove to you whether or not your prospective buyer is ‘ready.’ For example: 

  • A well-prepared buyer will have secured an ‘offer in principle’ for the mortgage if they need one. 

  • If they are going to need a mortgage but are yet to find out how much they can afford, is their offer a realistic one? 

  • Have they already hired a solicitor who is ready to start the process? 

  • Ultimately, if the buyer is ready now then they are likely to remain reliable as the sales process moves along. 

2. What is their situation? 

Whether you’re selling a home or buying a home, the position you are in is entirely unique to you - but what works for one person, may not for another, so it’s good to know as much about your buyer’s situation as possible. These are some of the things you may be interested to know: 

  • Do they have another property to sell or are they a chain-free buyer? A chain- free buyer means fewer elements to the sale and therefore, less to go wrong. 

  • If they have a property to sell, is it on the market and under offer already? 

  • What are their time frames for moving and how does this suit your time frames for moving? If you are still negotiating an onward purchase a flexible buyer would be advantageous. 

  • Are they a cash buyer or will they need time to process a mortgage? 

  • Are there any other associated people that have not yet seen the property? For example, if a parent is providing part of the funding and if so, do they still need to view the property? 

3. Consider the monetary value of their offer 

Each individual will have its own perks and drawbacks, but ultimately, you will want to ensure that the amount your buyer has offered for your home is a true reflection of its market worth. Think about the following: 

  • How does the offer price relate to the marketing price and the minimum price your agent would expect to achieve? 

  • Financially, does their offerafford enough money to make your onward purchase? 

  • If the price is lower than expected, do the other factors (speed, flexibility etc.) make up for the monetary shortfall? 

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4. Seek agent feedback 

Your estate agent is there to help you, so be sure to seek their help and advice wherever possible - including their thoughts on any offers you receive on your property, as well as the best way to counter offer on a house. Be sure to: 

  • Ask your agent for their honest feedback on the offer. 

  • Do they think this is the prospective buyer’s best & final offer? 

  • Do they believe there is scope for a better offer from an alternative buyer? 

  • How much interest from other prospective buyers is there? 

  • Is the applicant actively exploring other properties? 

  • What else is available locally that is similar to your property? Is the offer in-line with others in the area? 

When considering an offer, take time to think it through, especially if it is lower than you were expecting, and do not feel under pressure to give an immediate response. That said, you need to remember that the potential buyer will be keen to move things forward in a timely manner, so if you can go back reasonably quickly you should be able to continue their enthusiasm. Aim to give a response either way within 48 hours. 

You are under no obligation to accept any offer. For example, someone may offer the asking price for the property but may not be proceedable. This is where they have yet to sell or accept an offer on the sale of the purchase. In this case, it may be better to keep marketing to find a buyer that can proceed. 

Where there are multiple offers going backwards and forwards the agent may suggest a sealed bids scenario. Here each buyer will be given a deadline by which to submit their best and final offer for the property and then you would be able to decide which best suits you. 

Once you have accepted an offer, your agent will then issue a Memorandum of Sale confirming the buyers and the sellers’ details and their respective Solicitors or conveyancers. The property will be marked on their books as Sold Subject to contract (SSTC) as the actual sale will only be confirmed once the lawyers have ‘exchanged’ the legally binding documents. 

How we can help you 

At The Property Buying Company, we specialise in quick sales (our average sales time is just 2-3 weeks!) and what makes us unique is that we buy any home in any location and in any condition. We’re entirely open in our approach to property buying, which means we recognise opportunities where others likely wouldn’t. On average, we buy homes for approximately 80% of their market value and perhaps most appealing of all, we take over the entire process (no stress for you!) and there are no hidden costs. We understand how frustrating it can be when selling a home - there are so many additional costs that we don’t always consider at the beginning of the process - but at The Property Buying Company, we take care of all of that - including solicitor fees. 

To find out more about us and what we do, give us a call on 0800 024 8444 and one of our property experts will be more than happy to help. 

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Alexandra Ventress

Alexandra is a Content Producer who enjoys writing articles, finding out about the property market, keeping you up to date with the latest trends.