We are often asked by our clients whether they should withdraw their property from the market once an acceptable offer has been made. There are a number of angles on this subject which should be considered in the context of each specific set of circumstances.
Firstly, from an ethical perspective, it could be argued that once you have agreed to sell to someone, you have given them your word, and leaving the property on the market could be regarded as a suggestion that you would renege if a “better” buyer came along. This can encourage gazumping (where a higher offer is accepted over the original one).
Some vendors would not have a problem with this. However, in practical terms it is often the case that once the original buyer falls away in favour of the new, higher, buyer, the new buyer feels the pressure is off, and they regret having offered more than the market price. Their offer is subsequently reduced (gazundering). This practice often serves to frustrate the vendor and even risk the sale. The first offer is usually the best offer.
However, there is no point in taking your property off the market if your buyer is not in a strong buying position or has a linked transaction. This latter situation reduces the saleability of your home to the saleability of any linked properties, over which you have no control.
Equally we have noticed a trend in this currently heated market where buyers appear to “jump in” to secure a property whilst continuing to shop around, leading to a very from disappointing “fall through” later for the client and the agent. From an agents perspective this is very difficult to monitor as the buyer is unlikely to view with the agent that is supposedly selling them a property.
So what should we do? Our advice is generally to remove your property from the market as a sign of good faith but to employ an agent who is very proactive at chasing the sale for signs that the buyer is also proceeding in good faith and question slow progress. The agent should also look for the buyer’s solicitor’s confirmation that they have no linked sale, and equally have their mortgage in principle (where possible) and deposit available.