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Fielding offers

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The first offer is usually roughly 5%-10% below the asking price, depending on the perceived level of demand and current market conditions. The two sides normally then work towards some common ground with further offers and reductions in asking price. The higher the opening offer is, the better the chance of getting a higher selling price for your home.

It is quite rare for the vendor to accept the first offer that is made on your property, unless someone meets the asking price and you find the whole process remarkably simple. Both you and the buyer will normally expect to negotiate. As a rule, the more people interested in the property, the tougher you can be in negotiations. In fact, it can be quite a reasonable strategy not to lower your price at all whilst there is more than one party interested. You can sometimes play them off against each other so that they match offers all the way up to the asking price and sometimes beyond.

Remember that you do not have to accept or reject an offer on the spot. You are well within your rights to take as long as you like to consider it. It's perhaps a little rude to go off on a six-week tour of the Himalayas to chew things over, but you can certainly take a day or so before you let the buyer know your decision. You never know, you may even get more attractive offers in the meantime.

Remember that price is not the only factor that you should be considering. Click here for some other considerations regarding buyer and seller positions.

If you accept an offer, avoid blindsiding the buyer and letting them be gazumped. It is incredibly unfair to simply turn around and tell them that your mutual agreement no longer stands as you have accepted a higher offer (unless of course you told them that you will accept any higher offers that come in before you exchange contracts). Before gazumping them and accepting the higher offer, at least give them the option of matching the terms of the new deal.

Remember that all offers will be made 'subject to contract and survey', so neither party will be legally committed to the sale even if you agree the price. Sometimes buyers pull out or alter the terms of their offer (if, for example, their survey uncovers something untoward) and sometimes vendors accept higher offers from other prospective buyers.

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