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Bidding war. How should I play this?

(48 Posts)
Jaffacakesaremyfave Sun 01-Dec-19 13:43:50

I'm a first time buyer and have had some really bad luck so far trying to buy a house. House 1, I paid for home buyers and structural engineer report and it all fell through at the last minute. House 2, my offer was accepted and then a cash buyer bought it two days later.

House 3 I went to see yesterday and I love it. It's under my budget, close to schools and big enough for me and DC's. It's priced between 150k and 160k and I put an offer of 160k in but the estate agent told me someone already offered 155k and the bids will be put forward on Monday and we will have an oppertunity to put in our best and final offer.

I really want this house and there has been alot of interest but I don't want to end up offering more than its value and then not being able to get a mortgage. I was thinking of offering 175k but scared this won't be high enough (or too high and I pay 10k more than I need to).

Has anyone been in this situation before and how should I play this? Did I mention I REALLY want this house?


Belleende Sun 01-Dec-19 14:37:04

Hang on your existing bid is £5k above the other bid and you are a FTB. I would not increase my bid at all until I had confirmation the other bidders had increased theirs, otherwise you are just bidding against yourself.

Dragongirl10 Sun 01-Dec-19 14:42:44

As the other poster said, you have already offered the higher amount, so tell the estate agent ( who is being very cheeky) to put your offer to the vendor immediately. By law they have to.

Only if they come back and say the other buyer has offered the same, and ASK TO SEE PROOF IN WRITING, should you consider going higher.

It seems like the estate agent is trying his luck as you are a FTB, don't let him.

Jaffacakesaremyfave Sun 01-Dec-19 15:02:28

Thank you so much for your replies. I didnt realise they had to submit the offer immediately by law. I did think it was strange at the time because on the other houses, my bids were immediately given to the vendor.

I know I'm the higher bidder but the estate agent hinted (told me) the other persons offer and I know they will go back to the other bidder and tell them my bid on Monday so they can increase theirs. Is it normal to have a closed bidding system like this on a house that isn't an auction? I'm willing to go up to 180k in reality so I'd rather pay abit more to get the house but if I have to give a final offer tomorrow then I don't know how high to go.

I think it's likely that they will say someone else has made a higher final bid and I have to submit my best and final 'blind' so to speak. Can I really ask to see the other persons offer?

The EA made it seem he wasnt allowed to tell me.

StarbucksSmarterSister Sun 01-Dec-19 15:08:08

Personally I'd say that was my final offer and then walk away.

Each time I've bought I lost out on the first place (for various reasons but last time I was gazumped) Each time I ended up with a place that was much better.

Wolfcub Sun 01-Dec-19 16:32:23

Be careful about offering so much more than potential market value. 175 or 180 for a 160 house may well fall through when your mortgage lender values the property, unless you are a cash buyer or have a very significant deposit this could cause you problems. Your estate agent sounds like an ass

wowfudge Sun 01-Dec-19 16:57:38

The EA works for the vendor. Their job is to get as much as possible for the vendor.

PizzaExpressWoking Sun 01-Dec-19 17:12:39

The EA is being very cheeky.

Be aware that my friend had this same thing happen to her. They put in their highest and final offer in good faith as a sealed bid by the closing date. Then the day afterwards, the EA contacted them to say that they had been outbid by £5K in the sealed bids, so would they like to increase their offer?!

It seems very likely that this is just a rather dodgy ruse to try to ramp the price up beyond market levels. There is nothing stopping the EA from trying to carry on the bidding war afterwards. There is also nothing to stop you from putting in a high bid and then gazundering them afterwards once the other buyers have moved on (not that I'm recommending this; I'm just pointing out how artificial this whole "final-bids-final-closing-date" situation is).

I would not let them rattle you like this. Tell them you're not prepared to play that game, but you are prepared to go through the normal process of hearing about other buyers' offers (in writing) and then considering whether to increase your own offer. The EA wants to get the highest possible price for the seller. So they won't want to cut you out of the running without offering you the chance to outbid any other offers they receive.

TDL2016 Sun 01-Dec-19 17:33:46

Why not canvas your offer. Tell the agent that you’ll offer £x above the highest bid eg highest bid is £170,000 you’re prepared to pay £2000 more so therefore your offer would automatically be £172000. You’re welcome to withdraw if the offer gets too high. This all hangs on how trustworthy you think the sellers agent is though!!

Pipandmum Sun 01-Dec-19 17:43:08

Yes it's not uncommon. A property I sold for had several offers in the first week so we we t best and final. But it was final - you couldn't then go back to another bidder to increase their offer. In the end I sold for about 5% over asking. There were a ra gke of bids and the top was well above what I accepted but they had not sold their property and the buyers i went with were under offer through the same agent (so they were doubly incentivised to see the sales go through).
I'd increase it to something like £160,800 or £161,600. But no more.

Jaffacakesaremyfave Sun 01-Dec-19 19:19:27

Thanks everyone.

I'm in a relatively good position as I have a large deposit (100k) and also no house to sell but I'm not sure what position other buyers are in.

I don't trust the EA to not play games if I say I'll pay X amount over the highest bidder as like you say, they are working for the vendor. I'll go in tomorrow and say I want to see the offers in writing before I increase.

To be honest, i think the house is priced low (based on size/condition) but i guess it will be in line with market value so i don't want to be stuck not being able to get a mortgage. I guess anyone other than a cash buyer will have this problem too though so surely there has to be a limit to what others will offer too.

I'm not going to get any sleep tonight!!!

Stupiddriver1 Sun 01-Dec-19 19:23:52

You don’t go up until you’re told that the other bidder has put in a higher offer because they might not do that. And then you will have wasted 15k. Plus the house might not be worth that. Don’t get into a position of losing money on a house when you come to sell. Just because you’ve fallen for it now and are prepared to pay over the odds doesn’t mean someone else will feel the same when you come to sell.

Though if it’s a long term house that’s less of an issue.

8paws8legs Sun 01-Dec-19 19:28:42

Pipandmum is right change your bid to an obscure amount £161,123 or something most people stick to the round figures so going the opposite could tip you over by the £123 to being highest bidder.

Jaffacakesaremyfave Sun 01-Dec-19 19:37:27

The plan is that it's a long term house. That's why I'm so keen on it, because it's big enough for DC to have their own space if they are unable to get on the housing ladder as adults.

My dad thinks I should just increase to 170k before I even know what the other offers are but as you say, I could end up paying an extra 10k for nothing.

I'll take your advice and offer a random number to increase my chances if it comes to it. The EA know I really want this house, I definitely wore my heart on my sleeve.

I'm so bad at this, my poker face is awful 😂

TheSandgroper Mon 02-Dec-19 00:52:44

We had a little something like you. I told the ea that as our deposit would be 150% of the mortgage amount, I expected no problem (and already had a bank offering).

EA went very quiet while he worked it out and then got more enthusiastic. We were a customer worth cultivating.

Stupiddriver1 Mon 02-Dec-19 06:20:08

And remember just because the agent says it’s best and final offers does not mean it is final offer. If they were to come back to you and say, sorry someone bid higher. You can increase your offer then and they legally have to put offers forward. Of course the vendor may decide not to listen to further offers, their choice.

Stupiddriver1 Mon 02-Dec-19 06:21:25

The EA knowing you Really want the house is no bad thing. The vendor will will want a committed buyer, not someone who drops out 2 weeks down the line.

yearinyearout Mon 02-Dec-19 07:07:54

Do not take your dad's advice and offer 10k over! The estate agent has to put all offers forward, so wait and see the outcome from your initial offer before going further. Take the advice other posters have given about seeing other offers in writing before increasing yours. You are in a very strong position because of your large deposit and being a ftb!

Alexalee Mon 02-Dec-19 08:04:06

Why bid yourself up
You are the only person to have offered the asking price and are in a very strong position
The offer is there ask the agent for the response from the seller as they should have put it forward already

Bluntness100 Mon 02-Dec-19 08:07:55

Are you in Scotland op?

Jaffacakesaremyfave Mon 02-Dec-19 08:21:29

I'm going to hold my nerve and see what happens today. I'm scared because I've been through this 3 times now and have been desperate to move since the beginning of this year.

I'm in England but heard the Scottish system is much more straight forward?

Please let this be 3rd time lucky 🤞

Misscf81 Mon 02-Dec-19 08:58:22

We keep having to go through this, and I was heartbroken when we lost out on a property we loved recently. We fell in love with a house that was on at 190K. It was on at the asking price, not offers over etc. so we went in at 195K. On the Monday, after viewing it on the Saturday, I was told we were the highest bidders, however, they were going to best and final (Why!!!!) - we were annoyed as we already went 5K above the asking so we upped it to £197,200. We didn’t get it. There was an offer higher than ours at 200K, and even though we were in a better position (FTB, no chain etc), they went with that offer. We were in a position whereby we can afford to go above much more than the value of the property as that all the lender will lend on, and we don’t have much more than a 10% deposit. It’s a tough one as I don’t want to more than what’s its worth, but also you don’t want to lose the house you love for the sake of a few grand like I did.

greenlynx Mon 02-Dec-19 09:39:47

I actually disagree with most PPs. We were in similar situation recently while house hunting. The area’s popular so it’s mostly best and final process. We were told by when (date and time) to make our final offer in writing and provide proofs of deposit and mortgage offer. There was no opportunity to increase the offer after that and no one showed us the winning offer. It’s a popular area so it’s sellers market. A couple of times we offered asking price straight after viewing and didn’t increase it later for best and final. We were not chosen. People would tell that someone offered more. But no, as it was more than an year ago, the prices paid are known now. The final sale prices were what we offered and in one case even less than we offered. I guess that someone offered more (unrealistically) and then dropped their offer at a later time because of the surveys, valuation, mortgage ... of course there is a risk that you will pay for a survey it will come back with lower valuation and the seller won’t accept the lower price.
I would look at bigger picture: are you in rental, what the alternatives, how long you are going to stay in this house, how about schools , commute, etc. 175 is probably too big jump but depending on the house and your circumstances it could be more or less.

greenlynx Mon 02-Dec-19 09:44:12

And I was in position twice when vendors preferred FTB as they wanted to move quickly because of the new job and twice when vendors didn’t want FTB as they were not ready to move quickly themselves. You just never know.

friendlycat Mon 02-Dec-19 12:28:26

As said further up thread you've already put in asking price and £5k above the other offer. Legally the estate agent has to put your offer forward. The EA sounds a bit of a shark tbh. At asking price and £5k above the other offer your offer should be accepted. Why is he talking about sealed bids? You are in a good position and I would be very happy to accept your asking price offer.

sunshinesupermum Mon 02-Dec-19 14:37:48

Agree with friendlycat

Trimbls Mon 02-Dec-19 14:51:41

I think the EA is being very cheeky! We're in the process of moving & had 2 offers when we were selling ours - an offer from a buyer with a long chain & an FTB offering £3k less. We accepted the FTB as we'd seen the house we wanted & hoped this would make it easier & quicker to get moving. Selling to an FTB is attractive to a lot of sellers IMO as you dont have as much risk of a chain falling through etc so you should be in a good position.

Jaffacakesaremyfave Mon 02-Dec-19 15:56:05

I agree too friendlycat. EA called today to say I have until tomorrow at 1.30pm to submit my best and final offer. He confirmed it was just between me and the other bidder and he doesn't know if the other bidder has increased so I can't understand why my offer wasnt accepted as the highest bidder. I asked if that would be the end tomo and he said we would still have a chance to increase so I really don't see the point in all this other than driving up the price well above asking.

Thank you everyone for your really helpful comments. I held my nerve today (and refrained from offering 170k). Another sleepless night ahead of me!!

PizzaExpressWoking Mon 02-Dec-19 17:28:40

Fingers crossed for you Jaffacakes - I really think you're doing the right thing. The estate agent is just trying it on. Somebody thinks he's Mister Super Wheeler Dealer when he's actually just Delboy grin

Alexalee Mon 02-Dec-19 18:22:17

So the agent said best and final at 1.30 tommorrow but that tou would have chance to bid again
He is clearly a wanker
Best and final deadlines should mean just that, don't know what hes playing at unless you have inadvertently told him you have a higher budget at some point and he is trying to extract every penny he can out of you
Stay firm and you will more than likely get the house for 160k

Belleende Mon 02-Dec-19 18:32:25

Fuck that! You need to get that dodgy bastard to confirm whether or not he has put your original offer to the vendor, and whether they have accepted or rejected it. Get it in writing. Don't create your own bidding war unless you absolutely have to!

Stupiddriver1 Mon 02-Dec-19 18:48:48

What do people think about a letter to the vendor through the letter box if not sure if EA has put the offer forward? Not sure if a good idea or not but I'd be tempted

Jaffacakesaremyfave Mon 02-Dec-19 19:06:11

Thank you pizza 🤞

He said he had spoken to the vendor and they want to go to best and finals tomorrow. He also hinted strongly that when I call tomo, he will know what the other has bid and he will tell me (higher or lower but not actual price) because he 'really wants me to get the house'.

I then asked if accepted could I bring documents in tomorrow afternoon (DS has a medical appointment tomorrow morning 1.5 hours away) and he said he would have to see if 'Karen' would be available to take them and go through my mortgage to see if they can get a better one. Why can't I just come in as long as its before closing and give it to any staff member to scan? I have a mortgage broker who has been fabulous through the other two houses and I don't want another mortgage plus I'm working the rest of the week and I want it to be taken off the market tomorrow.

They know my budget is higher because my mortgage in principle is up to 158k (so my max budget is 258k with deposit). I'm really being dicked about aren't I?

Belleende Mon 02-Dec-19 19:28:16

Tell him you got your mortgage through your brother John, and even if it is a crappier deal you are staying with him for family harmony.

You are a FTB offering asking price in the deadest month of the year for house sales. Most buyers would take your arm off

showmethegin Mon 02-Dec-19 19:44:58

We're in the same situation as you and that EA is taking the piss, I don't even know where to start. Best and final when you are already the highest bidder is ridiculous. As for asking you to take your documents in and speak to their mortgage broker, tell them you already have a broker you are satisfied with.

I would be inclined to put your offer down in writing, laying out your position and put it through the vendors door

Alexalee Mon 02-Dec-19 19:59:36

I bet the other will be higher... just a hunch.. rolls eyes

PizzaExpressWoking Mon 02-Dec-19 20:13:10

When we were FTB we also got offered an appointment with the estate agent (or rather with their tame mortgage adviser) to go over our mortgage options.

We went along with it, but I wish we hadn't. In retrospect it was clearly just a way for the estate agent to suss out our income and exactly how much we could afford to pay for a house. They then marketed us more expensive properties and tried every trick to get us to increase our bids (because they knew exactly how much we could go up to).

Not to mention that their "advice" on your mortgage will take ages, won't be impartial and you already have a broker anyway!

There is no reason why you should see their mortgage adviser. They are really trying to do a number on you.

Also there is absolutely no reason for the EA not to tell you what the other bids (if any) are. I would actually tell him that you are sick of getting messed around and treated like this when you are a serious buyer. I would be tempted to tell the seller this directly as well - the estate agent is being unprofessional and it is putting buyers off.

sunshinesupermum Tue 03-Dec-19 13:18:39

As other pps have said, do not discuss anything with their 'tame' mortgage advisor - tell the estate agency you are more than happy with the one you've got! Best of luck today.

Jaffacakesaremyfave Tue 03-Dec-19 16:04:40

Thanks everyone, I got the house 🥳 however I had to increase to 175k as the other bidder was close. I was prepared to go up to 180k so all in all I'm happy.

They have agreed to take it off the market and not allow any further viewings and I have to go in on Saturday to submit documents. They are still saying I have to meet with this mortgage person to ensure I'm 'financially viable' and might as well go through mortgages whilst I'm there 🙄 I'm going to tell them I'm not interested in the day.

I really hope it doesn't all fall though as I'm so paranoid after the last two houses. Sending everyone else who is trying to buy lots of luck and thanks again for keeping me sane over the weekend!!

Alexalee Tue 03-Dec-19 16:19:24

Wow... you literally listened to no ones advice... why bother asking for it if you dont listen. You have been played by the agent and overpaid

PizzaExpressWoking Tue 03-Dec-19 16:21:25

Congratulations on the house!!

Hope it all goes smoothly smile

friendlycat Tue 03-Dec-19 22:26:06

I really hope this works out for you but be prepared for mortgage valuation to not agree with the over pricing. You are paying nearly 10% over the asking price and the surveyor who does the valuation may well bring this up. With Brexit and sluggish house prices that may also fall make sure you are happy with this. I’m sorry to say but I do think the EA has “played you” on this tbh. But if you’re happy with the situation that’s your call.

FawnDrench Wed 04-Dec-19 19:17:17

So you've paid £15k more than your original offer which at the time was the highest offer!
Words fail me and I do hope you haven't been taken for a ride here - but it really sounds like you have...

Jaffacakesaremyfave Thu 05-Dec-19 09:43:27

I'm not sure how I haven't taken advice. I asked to see the other offer in writing which they showed me and I had to increase my offer to get the house. I already thought it was underpriced and knew I'd be willing to go up to 180k max.

It's a 5 double bed house with brand new kitchen and bathroom and walking distance to DC school. I'm borrowing less than I'm putting in as a deposit and half of what I planned to borrow when I first started looking at 250k houses. As long as they value it at more than 75k (which I know it's worth more than that) then I should be able to get a mortgage which I didn't realise before (I thought the valuer would have to agree the whole price).

This is the 20th or so house I've been to view since the start of the year and as I said before, it's going to be our forever home.

I know it sounds easy to try and barter over buying a house but I knew I wanted this house the minute I looked around. It's perfect for is and I'm happy with the price I've paid. I just hope nothing else crops up and we can move in soon (theres no upper chain).

Thankyou to those who wished us well.

ChristmasCroissant Thu 05-Dec-19 09:48:52

I hope it runs smoothly from here for you OP, and that you can effectively rebuff the mortgage adviser at the weekend!

As you have such a large deposit, even if you'd paid well over the market value for the house I don't think you'll have trouble getting a mortgage.

I hope you are all soon in your new home flowers wine

Troels Thu 05-Dec-19 09:59:50

You don't have to speak to their mortgage broker, tell them you already have one and it's family so you won't be changing.
If they say it's to confirm you have the money, tell them that your solicitor has proof of funds, and to contact him. I did and they backed right off. Don't let them talk you into anything.

Jaffacakesaremyfave Thu 05-Dec-19 19:12:38

Thankyou 😊. I had a call from the mortgage advisor at the EA to confirm the appointment on Saturday and I made it clear I just want to come and bring my documents for the offer. She told me that I could have done that anytime and didn't need an appointment like the EA told me on Tuesday. I'm so annoyed, house still on the market which he promised would be taken off and they are now saying they won't do that until they have seen my documents although they said they won't accept any offers or viewings.

I could have sorted all of this on Tuesday and he bare faced lied to me. I got an apology but if I didn't want this house so much I would have threatened to withdraw.

Why do they have to add stress to an already stressful situation!! Gah!!

friendlycat Thu 05-Dec-19 23:42:24

I’m sorry this is so stressful for you but I really do think the EA is a chancer and has/is lying to you throughout this whole process. I hope it works out for you as you obviously really want the house but it seems as though he is playing you. Your first offer of asking price should have sealed the deal in the first place. Hopefully you will sort it out but having offered 10% over the asking price it really should have been taken off the market! EA are supposed to make the whole process smooth not complicated.

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