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Could this buyer be too good to be true?

(19 Posts)
MurderOfProse Tue 05-Feb-13 21:49:14

Today, a few days after we put it on the market, somebody put in a really good offer for our zone 4 London house, more than even the agent was expecting as it was close to our (rather optimistic) asking price.

I would absolutely love to believe that she fell in love with the place, and that as there aren't many houses like ours on the market in our area, wanted to secure the place (we had another offer at 90%, I guess the estate agent would have told her there was other interest) so she was willing to pay the price and not faff with negotiations. We did the same ourselves, but that was at the peak of the housing boom - a different era.

The potential buyer has an agreement in principle. The house remains on the market until survey in accordance with the EA's policy.

The cynic in me can't believe we've been this lucky. But, if she is up to something, what could it be?

The house is in need of cosmetic updating as described by the agent and this is evident from viewing the property, so surely the buyer cannot ask for reductions post survey based on that?

Basically I'm asking - what should we be aware of, or be looking out for? We're house-selling newbies and despite my cynicism here (which is based entirely on "we could never be this lucky, right?") usually end up tending to think the best of people so we're ripe for ripping off basically!

Also feel free to tell me we are just being paranoid too, if it applies!! grin

lalalonglegs Tue 05-Feb-13 22:01:27

I can understand your nerves but there doesn't seem any obvious reason to doubt her intentions yet. I knew a very shitty crafty man who used to put in a low offer and, if it wasn't accepted, get his friend to put in a much higher one that was snapped up. He would then get a survey done in his friend's name and preliminary paperwork and then, a bit before exchange the friend would change his mind and crafty man would come back into the picture with his low offer and willing to complete very quickly (as most of the paperwork had been done and he could just change the name and price on the contract). I think those sorts of shenanigans are pretty rare though smile.

I'd only start to worry if she starts faffing around and doesn't get a survey commissioned or appoint a solicitor promptly. Maybe she sees something in your house that you can't - does the plot have potential?; maybe she is desperate to live in that area for personal reasons; maybe she has missed out on other houses by not being quick enough offering a high enough price; maybe she just really, really likes your house. Enjoy your good fortune, I hope it all goes smoothly.

MurderOfProse Tue 05-Feb-13 22:40:15

Thanks!! Oooh, that is a thought - quite convoluted but I guess it's not impossible. I'd agree it sounds pretty rare though, and there was never a chance to negotiate with the lower offer in our case.

What got me was the surprise of the agent, and the fact he felt he had to reassure me that she "seemed genuine" although he said he's had the wool pulled over his eyes in the past. I dread to think with what!!

We're currently renting and our old house is empty - sure, we're paying the mortgage but we have no other pressures (no chain after all) which would put a gazunderer in a weak position to try and drop the price at the last minute as we'd just tell them to get lost, so I'd hope they wouldn't even bother trying?

It is one of the better houses in the area as it has slightly bigger rooms than most, and overlooks the quiet park which most don't - the two main reasons we snapped it up under very similar circumstances albeit a different market so it was more common to do that then. So maybe that is all it is, goodness, I hope so.

It feels so churlish to be cynical over such a great offer like this in today's market conditions, but it is precisely because of the conditions that we are a bit hmm !!

Toomuchtea Wed 06-Feb-13 08:21:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MurderOfProse Wed 06-Feb-13 10:50:17

Good question! The agent didn't say. If she had, would they have made that clear do you think?

As far as we know the survey shouldn't throw up anything other than a somewhat dated fusebox and the fact the boiler is old (but we had it serviced a month or so again) Everything else is visible/obvious on a viewing and clear from the description e.g. the walls needing paint, new carpets etc so I'd hope she wouldn't try to renegotiate based on things like that. The house was built in the 80s so it's not like it's hundreds of years old.

Thank you - I really hope she is somebody like that too!!

lalalonglegs Wed 06-Feb-13 10:56:26

I've just noticed that you are in London - a lot of London is booming and places are going very quickly so your house might not be bucking a trend at all.

swisscottage Wed 06-Feb-13 10:59:05

This happened to us twice, good location, above average size rooms and we snapped both houses up. Consequently when we sold, they were snapped up too (both in a recession) so I think you should go with the flow and not worry too much! If your house remains on the market until exchange like you mentioned, then she is under pressure to get moving on exchange before somebody else comes along.

Toomuchtea Wed 06-Feb-13 11:18:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lalalonglegs Wed 06-Feb-13 11:25:32

It doesn't really matter if the offer was subject to survey or not as no offer is binding in England and Wales until exchange of contracts so it can be reduced for whatever reason. At the moment, there is no reason to believe, apart from OP's admitted paranoia grin, that the buyer will significantly reduce her offer.

Cosmosim Wed 06-Feb-13 11:43:42

I've bought and sold in the area and not only have I never seen this - I would also never agree that the house continues to be marketed until I pay for a survey. Especially as hers isn't a cheeky offer. If that was your condition, in her shoes I would keep looking and make other offers. And I wouldn't be trying to arrange for that survey very quickly either. Your EA is nuts to make this mandatory.

magimedi Wed 06-Feb-13 11:54:16

London is doing well & lots of people like houses that need updating - I've always been pleased to buy a house with a really old bathroom or kitchen as I then feel justified in putting in a new one to my taste.

Good Luck!

MurderOfProse Wed 06-Feb-13 14:30:52

Thanks everyone! You all mostly sound quite reassuring :-) Perhaps it is simply just a case of the house was perfect and she knew there was a lot of interest so she wanted to make sure. I have bought houses twice and done exactly that after all so perhaps my doubts are a tad unfounded even considering the current market.

Am fully aware she can retract the offer at any time up to exchange whatever she feels like (and I wouldn't blame her if she felt buyer's remorse and does try to renegotiate regardless of what the survey says)

I had no idea the agent would leave the house on the market until survey when I we chose them. As a buyer, I wouldn't like it either. However, and of course the poor buyer has no way of knowing this, we're pretty ethical sorts and with an offer that high, we'd be pretty unlikely to drop her in it and definitely we wouldn't once she's spent money - I'm a firm believer in karma in these situations. Besides, if somebody DID offer higher we'd be well suspicious as to their motives and refuse on those grounds anyway, particularly as we're already hmm about this great offer!!

I'm now feeling very thankful we didn't update the bathroom/kitchen etc because if this all goes through, it would have been mostly wasted money and a heck of a lot of wasted time and effort.

I might give the agent a call tomorrow when the children are all at school/nursery so I can have a sensible conversation with them. Yesterday's was all a bit rushed and distracted as I was trying to stop DS (1) from falling off a slide and the two girls were demanding to be pushed on the swings! Why can't everyone do everything over email..

MurderOfProse Wed 06-Feb-13 14:42:29

Oooh, just got an email from the agent (seems they do email after all, hurray!) and it seems like they take it off the market once they hear from a surveyor, just to be sure the buyer is financially committed and serious. So that is fair enough I think.

southnorwoodmum Thu 07-Feb-13 10:18:55

I did exactly the same, I snapped up the property as soon as it came on the market. I was literally the 2nd viewer and put my offer straight after me and the agent left the house. My offer was 95% of asking price and I got it at 96%. I knew exactly what I was looking for it ticked all the boxes and I did not want to faff with low offers as we had missed out with low offers with other properties.

I plan to sell up soon and will be looking in a narrow area, so I am ready for no-faff again, and possibly putting 100% offer.

It is just knowing what you want. Oh, and it is London.

MurderOfProse Thu 07-Feb-13 14:14:18

Thank you! I know I am similar with my approach to buying houses too - I guess sometimes it's hard to realise that there are others out there like it as well.

Part of me can't believe our luck as I remember my parents' house being on the market on and off over several years in the 90s and endless streams of viewers and never a sausage. In the end a family called "Byers" bought the place which still amuses me to this day grin

MurderOfProse Tue 30-Apr-13 19:00:18

An update, because I always like to know how these things end!

So the first month very little happened because the buyer decided to go with a different mortgage provider, and they seemed to want all sorts of bureaucratic nonsense which meant it took a further month for her to get an agreement in principle. Then for some reason the survey took three weeks to get sorted, and then finally in the last two weeks we had some movement and we exchanged today for completion Friday grin grin grin grin

It took three months altogether from offer to exchange, and for 7 of those weeks the house was still being marketed. There were 1-2 viewers a week (thank goodness we were not still living in it - the agent handled it all) and a couple of offers but all were very below, 6-10%, what that first buyer had offered. Whether the agents weren't really pushing it because they had a buyer in hand I don't know, but I can't help but feel we have been extremely lucky, so these last few weeks and especially days I have been incredibly nervous that she might pull out (as happened to a friend in very similar circumstances practically at exchange just last week) or renegotiate but she did not smile I can't believe how lucky we have been.

Having said that, since we went on the market a few others have come on at around 10% higher; often slightly smaller houses but in better condition, so I think she did get a fair price and those others making offers were just chancers or willing to negotiate upwards quite a bit. The price is definitely on the up in our old area.. watch me kick myself when the place sells in a few years for 50% more or something stupid when we're still scraping around to cover the stamp duty let alone a deposit on a new place! Still, we are very happy in a lovely new area and escaped the negative equity noose so I shouldn't be too greedy!

wonkylegs Tue 30-Apr-13 19:32:58

Our house was snapped up in a week, offer was above asking price. We had 6 offers in a week.
Our agent checked out the finances of all the buyers though so could confirm they were genuine and proceedable. I would expect your EA to do the same.

wonkylegs Tue 30-Apr-13 19:34:27

Ah should have read to the end of the thread ! Good to hear it seems to have worked out.

poocatcherchampion Tue 30-Apr-13 19:40:04

well done!

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