There’s a rumor that has gone around for years now stating that anybody selling a house should never accept the first offer they are given. Timing is everything on real estate, but this doesn’t mean you should or shouldn’t accept the first offer on your house – it all depends on the exact circumstances, your property, and many other factors.

Many experts believe that the first three weeks that a house is on the market is the most active time the property will have. Apart from that, you’ll probably eventually notice dwindling interest.

If you do end up getting an offer in the early days your house is up on the market, you shouldn’t play games – you should definitely consider it. If you play the waiting game, time is going to pass and your listing could get much older and not a lot more interest.

Take advantage of these first few weeks on the market as they are imperative. In fact, if you get a cash offer, it’s even more imperative that you consider. It may not be the highest deal or even as much as you wanted, but it can make for a much smoother transaction. We’ll talk more about this later!

Let’s take a look at a few instances you should feel good about accepting the first offer on your house:

When You’re Short On Time

Perhaps you have to move out of the city for work, or for another important reason. You’ll want to reduce the amount of time you’re paying for two places to live. It’s pretty common for one spouse to make the move while the other stays at home with the kids while the property is on the market, but this can lead to a huge drain in your finances if you wait too long to accept an offer.

Financial Reasons

Financial reasons could be that you’re now making less money due to a change in your job, and you really need to cut down your pricy mortgage payments. Make sure your real estate agent knows what your motivations are. They should be able to market the property and get the best price possible quickly.

You’ve Found Where You Want To Live

At the very least it’ll be a strain to pay two mortgages – you may even find it financially impossible. Use this simple mortgage calculator to find out exactly how much you will be paying on your new mortgage. You don’t have to accept the lowest offer just to get your house off your hands, but it shouldn’t be stupidly low. A professional company like Wren Realty can give you more of an idea of what sort of offer to go for if you need help.

Things To Remember

Bear in mind that it’s totally normal for a buyer to offer 5-10% less than the advertised asking price, so don’t be surprised if the offer is a little low at first. You can always make a counter offer – in fact, you should. The general consensus is that any home buyer has at least three offers in them. However, you don’t need to accept or reject an offer straight away. Sleep on it. Sleep on it for a few days, even!

This being said, make sure you find out your buyer’s position before making a decision. There are things you need to think about when deciding who you’re going to sell your home to:

Questions To Ask

  • What is the financial position of the buyer?
  • Are they offering cash?
  • Do they have a mortgage approved?
  • Do they need to move quickly?
  • Are they part of a chain?
  • What are their timescales for moving?
  • Are they flexible on their date?
  • Do you have to move fast to secure your next house? – if yes, you’ll want to accept an offer from a buyer who is not part of a chain. If you’re not in a hurry to move, then you can afford to wait for a better offer.

Remember that if you do accept the offer it’s usually subject to survey. This means that as long as the survey doesn’t bring up anything that needs to be addressed, the buyer will keep their offer. The offer is not legally binding until the contracts are exchanged.

What To Do When You Agree To An Offer

When you’ve made a deal with a potential buyer, the estate agent will verify your buyer’s position by doing a chain check. All parties lawyers will be in contact with one another to get the conveyance process moving and have the contracts drawn up. Conveyancing can present problems later on down the line, so the sooner the solicitors begin communication the less problematic this process will be.

Buyers Who Drag Their Feet

It’s pretty common to come across a buyer who seems legit and makes you a genuine offer on your property but seems to be dragging their feet for some reason. To see how committed your buyer is, you need to ask your agent to press them on having a mortgage valuation or survey carried out right after the offer has been accepted.

You’ll then be able to assess the financial commitment of the buyer, but it’s still not the best way of making sure they are genuine. Some buyers will end up changing their minds or getting cold feet about the whole thing and that’s just the way it is. Even after they’ve spent money on surveys they are free to do this without a penalty.

What To Do If You Haven’t Got An Offer Yet

What if you’re still waiting on an offer for your home? The faster you act the better – you don’t want your home to be on the market for too long, as it can make it look like something is wrong. Here are some important steps you can take if you’ve not got an offer on your home yet:

Act Like You’re In Love With Your Home Again

You’ve probably noticed that people who sell their home are rarely in love with it anymore. However, you need to be in love with it if you’re going to excite people who might buy the house. This will help you to present it and show it better.

Ask For Less

You can’t price your home out of the market. A house that is underpriced is more likely to start a bidding war.

Get Three Valuations

Getting three valuations for your house is called the ‘golden mean’, because you can then select the one in the middle. However, if this isn’t the number that your estate agent has suggested, as them if they’ll go along with it.

Do A Test View Of Your Property

Invite somebody with a keen eye for detail over, maybe your tidiest friend, and get them to tell you what could look better. They will be unbiased and you can improve your home the way you need to.

Make Sure You Do The DIY

Make sure your DIY jobs are finished and that any small repairs are seen to before you sell your home.

Decorate Kids Rooms

If your kids have left home, redecorate their rooms. You don’t want to remind buyers that one day their kids will leave them too by showing off an empty shrine to your absent children. You could even try to make your children’s rooms look more neutral if they still live there. It allows the buyer to use their imagination more.

Let Buyers Look At Their Leisure

You can show some hospitality by offering potential buyers a drink, but don’t follow them around the house. Pretend you have some work to do on the computer or something and let them show themselves around. You don’t want to make them feel awkward or pressured. The chances that they steal from you are very slim.

Make Sure You Don’t Reek Of Desperation

Even if you are desperate, don’t show it. Don’t talk about how you’re pregnant and broke, or have your baby scans out in full view. You definitely shouldn’t tell your estate agent you’re desperate. Estate agents can’t help themselves, and they will likely let it slip that you’re desperate to sell the house if you tell them.

Tell Half-Truths

Buyers might ask you questions about why you’re moving, but you should tell half-truths. You can say things like you want to be closer to family, for example, and add in that you’ve been really happy in the home. However, you shouldn’t tell them that you’ve gone bankrupt and you’re moving back in with your parents.

Call For Feedback After Viewings

When a viewing has taken place, make sure you call your agent for feedback. If nobody is making an offer or even coming to see your house, ask them why. Maybe your pricing is too high, or something else is making people not want to buy. They will tell you if they think something could help you to sell your property.

Buy New Appliances

You don’t need a whole new kitchen, just a few new appliances. You’re not going to leave them behind. You’re going to take them with you when you move, but you’re going to show them off during viewers to give buyers a better impression of the house. A new toaster, kettle, and bed sheets will help you a great deal.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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