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Is EA using us to get the other bidder to increase their offer?

(13 Posts)
spacechimp Mon 10-Oct-11 14:23:45

Just wondering about others' opinions on this. We've been looking for 6 months and at the weekend found a house we both love, outside the postcode we were targeting but not far away. I haven't been very keen on moving at all and just doing it for DH's sake as he is unhappy where we are and wants more space/quieter location etc, as he works from home a lot.

This house has everything he wants and everything I would be looking for in a house, and so we made an offer 10k below asking price. House has been on the market 37 days according to mouseprice, and is no chain as vendor wants to move quickly. We have a buyer for our house and survey was done today. EA has come back to us saying that vendor would like 'a bit more' and that there had been another offer some time ago from someone who at that point hadn't sold their property but now has. EA says 'obviously we're not trying to play one off against the other' but clearly is trying to do that. They are mentioning increases that would take us to within 7-5k of the asking price and saying things like other sales on that road have been for more. I don't think this is true based on the internet searches we have done.

Anyway, we are reluctant to enter a bidding war, and don't want to increase our offer too early. But I really love this house and it's the only place I've seen in the last 6 months that I can see myself living in. I just want to know whether it sounds like the EA is just using us to get the original bidder to offer more, or whether we've got a chance, and if so, what should our next move be?

sun1234 Mon 10-Oct-11 14:34:07

I think he trying to do his best for his client by getting him a bit more money, at your expense.
I'd be tempted to say that you are disappointed but the seller needs to do what is best for him. However, you don't want to be kept hanging on, so could the agent speak to his client and confirm whether the seller is committed to the deal he has made with you or not? (Make him feel like he'll lose the sale because you are more scared of wasting time and being messed around than you are of not spending your money on this precise house. But don't be aggressive.).

sun1234 Mon 10-Oct-11 14:37:13

a good line, that always makes an agents heart sink at the prospect of losing a sale is "OK. Well that's a shame but let's move on. What else do you have on your books that you can show me?"

Amaris Mon 10-Oct-11 15:04:41

So it doesn't sound like they have actually had an offer from the other people, so that is probably a line. I guess to go for the lower end of what the EA would say is acceptable, how important is £3k to you, which is the difference between what you offered and what the EA said they want, and how much do you want the property? I might creep up a couple of thousand to see what happened with a view to paying £7k under the asking price. Ultimately I would probably go up more though if I loved the house so much and didn't think I'd get something better / cheaper.

spacechimp Mon 10-Oct-11 15:15:57

Thanks for the advice. It's probably just me being thick/naive, but I find it really hard to work out what's actually going on from what the EA is saying. Surely if there had been another offer it must have been the same or lower than ours or the vendor would have just accepted that one. Though I suppose it would have made a difference if the other people were not proceedable before. So you think it's just a line to get us to offer more Amaris?

I would be happy to go up by £3k and I think that's reasonable, but not sure what DH wants to do and he's not in email contact this afternoon. He also thinks we shouldn't look too keen and doesn't want us to increase our offer too early as he thinks we'll be outdone by the other people (if they exist!).

I really don't think we'll get anywhere better, but we might get somewhere cheaper. I just really love this house

Amaris Mon 10-Oct-11 15:40:29

I don't think the other people have made an offer from what the EA has said, and it's unlikely that you'll lose it overnight, but the problem is you never know! As a holding position you could just say you are still interested but you need to speak to DH later on and will get back to them in the morning.

Even if the other people are making an offer, the EA will want to get the best deal for their client and will come back to you one way or another I would have thought unless the other people have put in a (near) asking price offer and are ahead of you in terms of proceedability - but that doesn't sound likely. I'd just ask EA directly whether they have received any other offers and if they have ask them to come back to you before making a final agreement. Good luck!

sun1234 Mon 10-Oct-11 21:00:25

This is just a line estate agents spin when they are trying to get a higher offer. If they really had a better offer they'd say that you need to beat x number.

You can never be sure, but I am fairly certain that there is no counter offer. Its probably based on a half truth.

What is quite likely though is that the seller is not 100% comfortable with the price and has asked the agent to try for more. If it really is a low price, then just maybe you could be outbid, but then you could always up your offer at that point. If you up it now, then any new offer that comes along will be that much higher, but biding wars are unlikely in this market.

My best guess is that the seller realised that he had agents fees to pay and wasn't happy, so he wants you to cover them as much as possible.

£3000 is £3000. Its a lot of money!

(I used to be an estate agent so i know the tricks and what i am advising you here is exactly what i most hated happening to me. Just politely rebuff the request. Feel free to make up a lie, just as the agency has done. If you decide later to increase your offer, then you still can).

The only thing that would worry me in your shoes is how committed the seller is?

noddyholder Mon 10-Oct-11 21:42:08

Tell them you have a couple of others to see that are slightly less and you will get back to them. The property market has stalled again and prices are going to fall according to local agents here in the SE I am looking atm and several I viewed last month have come down considerably.

CherylWillBounceBack Tue 11-Oct-11 09:29:27

If from your research you think that your offer is fair, state that and add a line about the uncertainty in the market. If you really want it, perhaps up your offer by a grand and say it's on the proviso that the house is immediately taken off the market?

Basically make the increments in your offers as small as possible, as someone else said 3K is a lot of money (as is 1k!).

BridgetBust Tue 11-Oct-11 09:49:06

"If they really had a better offer they'd say that you need to beat x number"

Not necessarily. The EAs I have been dealing with will not even indicate how much another bidder has offered.

We have agreed to pay asking price on the house we are purchasing; it's perfect and I'm not going to lose the house we hope to live in for the next 20 years for the sake of £5k. JMHO.

sun1234 Tue 11-Oct-11 11:55:16

From the agents point of view, he just wants a sale. If his fees are 2% (say) then he'll get an extra £60, so its just not worth it for the agent to jeopardise the sale for the sake of £60.

The person who is jeopardising the sale is the seller, but if the seller had a better offer then he'd get the agent to say (very nicely) that unless you raise your offer, then he'll have to do right by his family etc and accept the other offer. Either that or he'd accept that he has a moral obligation to stick with the deal he has made with you. (It all depends on what type of person the seller is).

But the agent is not saying that you must raise your offer or lose the house, he's asking you if there is any chance that you'll raise your offer whilst being careful not to back the seller into a corner where he'd lose the chance to sell the house to you.

So, if you raise your offer, don't do it because you imagine a bidding war, do it because you think you've worked out what point the seller will agree to sell to you.

Are the sellers a couple? You may find that one of them is in favour of going ahead with the price they agreed with you already and the other thinks they can do better. Just a bit of prejudice here, but if what's really going on is that the seller who wants more money really wants it because they think that the house is worth more than the neighbours, then it will be the half of the couple who was responsible for making the house look nice.

As an agent, there is nothing riskier than letting the two halves of a deal get to know each other because chances are one of them will say something really obnoxious to the other and scupper the deal. However, if you have met the sellers, you may be able to work out which of them is behind the request for more money and whether they'll be able to get their husband/ wife to agree to pull out of the deal if you don't help them out.

Of all the houses I ever visited, I never went into one that had been done up, that the person who had done it up didn't think it was the most beautiful in the road and therefore worth more than all the neighbours houses. Similarly, for the ones that needed a lot of work, the sellers were always convinced that it needed a lot less money spent on it than the buyers thought it would.

Driftwood999 Tue 11-Oct-11 13:19:10

Work out what your "best offer" is, but do not tell your EA at that point. Tell them your are serious but will not be hanging round or entering bidding war, you will walk away, then ask the estate agent to go back to other potential buyer to ask for their best and final offer. Furnished with that info you judge your final offer ifyswim. This recently worked for us and the EA seemed bound by it. Let us know.

spacechimp Fri 14-Oct-11 14:55:07

Thanks for all the advice. Just wanted to give you an update. Those of you who had doubts about the seller's seriousness have been vindicated. We had a 2nd viewing, saw our mortgage advisor, and increased our offer by £3k after a week of being called by the EA every day, only to find out today that the seller has decided not to sell after all. I'm really upset. I loved that house and I am so sick of this whole process. I don't know how long our buyers will want to wait, and I just can't face the prospect of more viewings of rubbish houses.

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