When is an offer, an offer?

Buying a property is often the biggest financial decision that a person will make, and making an offer is a significant step in that process. It’s a heady time for a buyer and an exciting one for the vendor knowing that the plans they made around selling their property are close to fruition. With expectations so high it can be a huge disappointment when an offer “falls over” and the seller’s plans grind to a halt.

So how do you asses if your prospective buyer’s “offer” is actually real?

Is the buyer qualified?

Ask your agent to check if the buyer has their finance in place or pre-approved? It’s one of the most common causes of a sale “fallover”. A buyer finds their dream property but fails to get approval for a mortgage.

Are they ready to move?

Moving to a new home can bring big changes. New schools, new childcare, a longer commute, new friends, new neighbours and possibly a new job or big career change. Is your buyer committed to all those changes? Having an accomplished agent who can ask the right questions and establish a buyer’s commitment to the sale is a must.

Have they put down a reasonable holding deposit?

While a holding deposit doesn’t give a buyer a legal hold on the sale, it is a show of good faith. A reasonable deposit gives the seller confidence that the buyer is serious about going ahead with the purchase.

Does the contract have conditions?

If the contract can be drawn up without conditions (e.g. “subject to finance”, “subject to sale of Purchaser’s house etc), the chances of the sale going through to settlement are greatly increased. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment, ask your agent to keep your home “on the market” until the buyer gets their ducks lined up. A “subject to pest and building inspection” is reasonable but some sellers like to have a recent one ready so potential buyers know the property has been priced to take any issues into account.

Are the terms reasonable and acceptable?

Most of the terms in the sale of a property are fairly standard but there can be some snags to look out for. Will any of the vendor’s personal property come with the sale? Large pot plants and other garden features or perhaps a ride on mower or tractor for a rural property? Will it be sold with vacant possession or is there a tenant? Does the settlement timeframe work for your next move? If all these issues aren’t acceptable to you as a seller, should you wait for another buyer?  Or is it better to be flexible and not push for any outlandish terms or conditions?  An experienced agent will guide you through this negotiation to provide the best chance of clear sailing until the keys are handed over.

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When is an offer, an offer?