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I think my buyers may reduce their offer at the 11th hour.

(16 Posts)
miramar Thu 03-Apr-14 01:12:25

I'm just musing really. Long story but I anticipate the buyers either have second thoughts or will try to renegotiate the price in the hope I capitulate as it's so close to the sale date (next weekend).

Had this happened to you? Any thoughts? More background below-

I'm in Scotland and selling a flat. To set the scene, sellers pay for home info packs which must be available before marketing a property, so in theory the buyer has all the info they need before viewing. (Mortgage valuation and reasonably detailed survey inc energy report, costing around £500.) It's not the London market but has picked up in the past year with properties generally selling at or just above valuation. It's usual for buyers to set a sale date about 6-8 weeks in the future and be legally bound well before the sale date.

So I'm due out of my flat next weekend and the buyer's solicitor had been stalling on making the sale legally binding. They've raised lots of silly questions this week, things that were answered 6 weeks ago when they received the title deeds so there's need to ask again and pretend they don't know. Including as an example "when were the communal areas last decorated?" Err, your client saw the before and after situation during their viewings. They know it was recently painted!

stackablegoatbearingcheesecake Thu 03-Apr-14 23:00:54

Sounds very stressful.
Sorry I don't have any knowledge or experience of the Scottish properly system. I thought the law ruled out gazundering or gazumping, but obviously not.

The only answer really is that you know what the property's worth and what you can do, you've provided everything you need to and so you sit tight and hold your nerve.
I genuinely thought that system there meant no one should be in this position.

If you wanted to call their bluff and preempt things you could instruct your solicitor to pass on the message that you have provided all these answers and you're definitely not minded to be messed around.
Otherwise stay mum and keep everything crossed.

I hope you're worrying for nothing and it all goes through ok.

Hoolit Thu 03-Apr-14 23:15:16

We sold last aug and our buyer was a bit difficult for want of a better word!
Wanted everything for nothing as she wasn't working etc not my issue but we already had knocked thousands off and sorted and paid for various electric and gas tests. She even took her survey as verbatim not sure of right wording but it mentioned the odd paint chip and wanted money forthat knocked off - was newly decorated so they were picking! And the boiler is 10 years old so it might go soon so can you knock that off!!
No, its tested fine and parts are readily available and so it went on...
The day before finalising my solicitor called as she wanted another grand off! I said no before she'd even finished the sentence and she agreed this was cheeky and this was a first! But she went ahead with the sale claiming mis communication hmmm!
Even her solicitor was glad when it was all over, so hang in their they could just be chancing their arm.
I ts stressful but you'll manage

Hoolit Thu 03-Apr-14 23:16:11

Hang in *there

oscarwilde Thu 03-Apr-14 23:25:50

Not in Scotland but I had a buyer call via his solicitor refusing to exchange unless I agreed to sell (not even throw in) our washing machine as part of the deal. Who grandstands on exchange day and pays £300 for a 3yr old machine just because they can't be arsed to connect up a new one?

miramar Fri 04-Apr-14 00:55:23

Thanks for your messages.

I think that in Scotland it used to be the case that solicitors worked to make the sale legally binding as soon as possible after an offer was accepted. This is called "concluding the missives" here (missives are the letters solicitors send each other while making and accepting offers). I think concluding the missives is equivalent to exchanging contracts elsewhere in the UK. However from talking to friends it seems more common for this to happen close to the actual sale date now, so there could be gazumping etc. Buyers typically wouldn't pay anything though (apart from a mortgage arrangement fee) at this stage as the seller pays for a homebuyer survey and the searches. I've just experienced delaying tactics from the other perspective as I was keen to commit to buying a house while the seller was stalling (it went through ok).

Like other buyers and sellers ppudding recently it's the lack of info and lack of control that's frustrating and stressful.

One thing I do have control of though is that I was going to throw in a few extras (not mentioned in the contract and for no charge- they're things made specifically for the flat so it make sense to leave them) but I may rethink that!

Thanks again.

miramar Fri 04-Apr-14 00:57:19

"Ppudding recently" should read posting recently

InsertUsernameHere Fri 04-Apr-14 07:13:10

It might not be because they want money off - it might be because the ink isn't dry on the mortgage and they are trying to delay the conclusion of missives. As soon as missives are concluded they are tied in and there are penalties (substantial) if they pull out. We had it before - sale went through fine (though on two ocassions the day before we moved in!!)

OwlCapone Fri 04-Apr-14 07:17:08

I'm another one who thought this couldn't happen with the Scottish system? Mainly because of Scottish MNers on English property threads saying things like "thank goodness I live in Scotland - it couldn't happen here, our system is far fairer"

OP, I hope it turns out to be nothing.

Doodledumdums Fri 04-Apr-14 08:10:36

No advice, but I think our buyers are going to do the same! They offered us way way over the asking price because we had three other people who also wanted the house, and they were all trying to outbid each other, so eventually the buyers came in with a very high offer which we accepted (no idea why so many people wanted it, it's a fairly standard 3 bed end of terrace!). Anyway, we've also had odd questions from their solicitor, and I've got a feeling that they got caught up in the moment amd offered way more than they actually want to pay. I'll be cross if that's the case as we already lost a house we loved because our last buyer pulled out, so if we lose another buyer and therefore another house then I'll be gutted!

Oh actually this recently happened to my parents as the buyers said that they wanted to pay 10k less because the house needed new carpets?! My parents dropped 5k and said they had to exchange in two days or the whole deal was off, and luckily the buyers agreed and all went ahead.

Buying and selling houses is SUCH a headache! People's morals seem to go out the window!

OwlMother Fri 04-Apr-14 08:15:28

What does your solicitor think? They normally have quite a good feel for what's going on. I would be pressing him to conclude missives ASAP. When we bought our last house (2011, closing date, 8offers, substantially over the offers over price) we concluded missives 6weeks before entry. Ask solicitor about needing to set a deadline or re marketing.

miramar Fri 04-Apr-14 09:20:14

Thanks for your messages, and sorry this is happening to others.

My solicitor doesn't seem to have an opinion on this. I'm not impressed with him due to feeling that he was not assertive for my position as a buyer or as a seller. I'll call him today. He ignores emails.

The buyers said their mortgage was in place about a month ago when they came for a measuring-up visit after I'd accepted their offer. I suppose that is not guaranteed though.

Thinking about this, in Scotland buyers are protected as they can get to the point of making the sale binding before laying out any money, so that seems to be a big difference with the situation in the rest of the UK. (Solicitors don't charge for making an offer, and the seller provides a homebuyer-type survey with a mortgage valuation which lenders seem to accept.)

specialsubject Fri 04-Apr-14 10:25:17

I'd refuse to pay some of that solicitor's bill, BTW - 'ignoring' communications is not what you pay for.

surprised this can happen in Scotland, clearly no system is proof against people who really want to play it.

DreamingAlice Fri 04-Apr-14 12:07:48

OP, I am in Scotland too and am pretty familiar with the system. When did you accept the offer? Both parties' solicitors are under a duty to do everything possible to conclude the missives as quickly as is feasible. If there is a reason for the hold up on their end, they need to say so up front. Quick conclusion of missives is the reason we don't get into silly game playing quite so much here, but you are right in that there is sometimes a tendency to let things drift toward the entry date if your solicitor isn't on the ball. The problem is that the longer things go on the more exposed you are as far as them moving the goalposts on the sale, including the price they are willing to pay.

Your solicitor should confirm with their solicitor that finance is in place or will be soon and this should have happened pretty much immediately upon your accepting the offer. OwlMother is right, talk to him about setting a deadline or putting the property back on the market. If he ignores you, escalate to the firm's manager and then to the Law Society if need be.

miramar Fri 04-Apr-14 13:01:02

Thanks again.
Their offer was accepted at the start of February. Their mortgage was approved about a month ago. They didn't instruct another survey or valuation, their lender accepted the one in the home buyer pack.

Their solicitor has had sight of the title deeds and conditions for at least a month, but waits until now to raise questions, and they are unnecessary questions, it's almost like the solicitor can't understand what's written in the title deeds (which is just the usual stuff for modern flats e.g. the owners have to maintain the building but any improvements are voluntary and depend on all owners agreeing blah blah.)

miramar Fri 04-Apr-14 13:04:05

Oops I meant to add that I spoke to my solicitor this morning and gave a nudge smile.

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