Worried About Estate Agent(7 Posts)
Hi, my husband and I are first time buyers and have found our idea property and put an offer in.
So far, we have had our offer accepted by the seller, started the process with a lawyer, had the application accepted by the bank and are now waiting for the bank to carry out the valuation, so that our mortgage can be formally issued to us.
However, I am feeling a bit nervous about the seller but mainly the estate agent. When we got the letter of acceptance from the estate agent, on the Memorandum of Sale the offer conditions state that "Aim to exchange contracts within two weeks of purchaser's solicitor receiving draft contracts". A week later, once we had gone to the bank and reserve mortgage, the estate agent stated the property wont be available till July.
Alongside the Memorandum of Sale, was a letter from the estate agent stating - "Following instructions from the seller, I can also confirm that the property will not remain on the market". What doe that mean for us - the buyer? Should the property remain online marked STC, and should the agent be adding new pictures to it every week, like it is still being advertised, as this is what he has been doing.
Should we be concerned? We don't want to be gazumped as we really like the property.
It is normal practice for an estimated time of exchange and completion to be placed on the memorandum of sale, as at the point of offer acceptance no one has any real idea of how long the process will take. They will always aim for 10-12 weeks but every sale is different dependant on chains, solicitors, circumstances, bank holidays...etc. If proposed dates have been changed a lot without a discussion with you, I would call your solicitor and ask what's going on, all parties in the chain must agree on exchange and completion dates and be available (at least by phone) on day of exchange and completion to finalise instruction through solicitor. It is usual to need at least one week between exchange and completion when a mortgage is involved, to allow the funds to be drawn down.
Usually once a sale has been agreed and both parties solicitors have been formally instructed, it is assumed the property is withdrawn from the market. Odd they are changing pictures...etc. Do they have any reason to think you may pull out?
No. I have no idea why they are changing pictures but it worries me, and makes me think they are still slyly advertising it.
How long has the actual sale been in hand (since you formally instructed solicitors after having offer accepted)?
Is it still advertised as available or Sstc/ sale agreed/ under offer ?
The sale in hand has been 2 weeks so far. It is being advertised as STC.
Since being marked STC, the posting for the property, has gone from having one picture of the outside of the property (original photo), to pictures of the surrounding area (week 2), to pictures of the inside of the property (this week) ?
Hmm. I've worked in agency for a few years and my DH has for over 20, we agree that 1 of 2 things is happening with regard to the photos.
1) neither of us would like an ad to be live without proper details (outside/inside photos included). It looks really bad and unfinished and is not a good advocate for the agency to attract new vendors. Perhaps they already had the photos and have just added them to complete the online advert, to show perspective new vendors the quality of their marketing (looks pretty shoddy with just one outside shot)..etc. This may also be done to attract buyers looking including Sstc online, who may then go onto look at what else they have on their books. Good adverts on right move or zoopla lead to better traffic on agents own websites.
2) (please don't take this personally, this is a generalisation) often if the agent or the vendor has reason to believe the buyer may pull out, or not be able to achieve their mortgage or have any other doubts, they may keep the ad updated and keep interest up to ensure if there is a fall through they can quickly find a 'back up buyer'.
Either way it's weird and not something we would encourage, the last thing they should want to do is give you reason to doubt them.
I would speak to your solicitor regarding perceived 'continued marketing' by agent despite letter received saying they would stop marketing. Also ask them if anything has changed to postponed exchange/completion dates.
I'd also speak to the agent and ask to speak to the listing agent in charge of the property and demand to know why there have been multiple changes to the advert despite your agreed sale, which you have shown commitment to through instructing your solicitor and arranging mortgage val.
Are your sellers buying a new build? That would explain the long completion date as July might be the expected date when their property will be ready to move into. Exchange merely means you are contractually obligated to complete the purchase, but the actual completion date can be delayed, as seems to be the case here.
The agent has put in writing that the property will not remain on the market so would not expect the agent or the seller to be allowing further viewings by other potential purchasers. Entirely normal to see STC alongside the property details online, though not sure why more photos are being added unless it is simply that you made your offer while the property was in the early stages of being marketed.
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