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Offer accepted, but agent won't take the property off the market


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Hello!

We're excited to have had an offer accepted on a home however the agents have told us that it is their policy not to take a property off the market once it has been accepted.

We have tried to dispute this (as have been gazumped before!) however the agent and seller feel strongly it should stay on due to the uncertain market. Now we are hesitant to pay any upfront costs without the reassurance that it is not still being advertised.

1. The agents say they will not do any more viewings and their best suggestion is to advertise the property as 'under offer' once we have booked the survey. We've been told this isn't standard practice and our solicitor suggested we could offer a £500 reservation fee for their reassurance to take it off. Is this a good idea and is there anything else we can do to gain some security before paying out costs?

2. The agents would like us to use their conveyancer (which comes with the obvious reassurance that the agent will want their commission from the conveyancer and it's no sale no fee with them - although quite an expensive quote!). Otherwise we have a local partner solicitor who we know and trust, who is slightly less expensive however will charge us up to 50% if it falls through before completion. Is it worth the risk of sticking with our solicitor or do the benefits of going with the selling agent's conveyancer outweigh this?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

Charlotte

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The solicitors that serve estate agents are the same solicitors that you would get on a free legals remortgage. They are the absolute cheapest options out there, but you will pay premium prices because the agents will be making £300+ commission on each sale. If they got you to do the mortgage in house too they might be making £2k plus from the extra's, possibly more than the commission onselling the house itself.

Its a hussle and you would be very wise to pick your own trusted legal counsel. You wouldnt go to court with a lawyer the other party chose would you? You wouldnt close a business deal without your own lawyer?

As for not taking the property off the market, there is not much you can do about it, if thats what the vendors want. However i wouldnt feel comfortable going through all that knowing that its actively being sold to someone else, even just as a backup. I agree with @Jonnyboy, the only way this practice dissapears is if buyers reject it out of hand.

A service i think would be beneficial for the whole industry would be https://www.gazeal.co.uk/.

043_logo_final_03.png.0cdf828351f81e6097208048ac2d018d.pngStuart Phillips

Independent, Whole of Market Mortgage Broker

AALTO Mortgages Ltd

Web  www.aaltomortgages.com

Email  sales@aaltomortgages.com

Call  020 7183 1101

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This sounds very odd. Is it an estate agency that is primarily online? I don't want to name names as I'm not sure its allowed but I had an experience last year where I had an offer accepted on a property, they asked for proof of funds and ID etc which I did only to then receive an online message a week later to say they've accepted another offer. I was fuming but it's a lesson learnt. I didn't even realise gazumping was still allowed, I thought it was illegal,  apparently not. I spoke to my broker who said she still sees it frequently depending on the agent.

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It sounds like they are hoping they might get a higher offer than your one by leaving it on the market. The only other reason would be to put you under pressure to complete as quickly as possible.

If you are buying it as an investment then in your situation I'd probably walk away, but if you are planning on living in it and it's the house of your dreams then it's less straightforward.

PS Given what this agent is doing I'd not believe a word they say about them not doing any other viewings. Remember they work for the seller not you. A lot of agents are decent and honest but there are also plenty out there who are not whiter than white!

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1 hour ago, cormac m said:

It sounds like they are hoping they might get a higher offer than your one by leaving it on the market. The only other reason would be to put you under pressure to complete as quickly as possible.

If you are buying it as an investment then in your situation I'd probably walk away, but if you are planning on living in it and it's the house of your dreams then it's less straightforward.

PS Given what this agent is doing I'd not believe a word they say about them not doing any other viewings. Remember they work for the seller not you. A lot of agents are decent and honest but there are also plenty out there who are not whiter than white!

Spot on. The majority of local agents are brilliant and honest because of the local reputation, online agents that operate nationally are less reliant upon local word of mouth/ recommendations and operate very cut throat.

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Thank you so much everyone for your responses, it’s been really helpful. We are still very nervous to go ahead however they have now listed it as under offer. I read an interesting article today that the government might change this (was in the pipeline for early this year but understandably other things have happened!) so hopefully some more measures to protect buyers/sellers goes ahead.

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/oct/25/revealed-the-plan-to-end-gazumping-in-house-sales

I also read in the article about a company Phil Spencer recommends, gazeal.co.uk. Apparently both sellers and buyers are bound by an agreement for 1% with no money upfront from the seller and .075% from the buyer. Quite interesting and might suggest to the agent!

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I had a similar experience with a house I was looking at for a BTL. The estate agent said that as it was a corporate sale, it would stay listed until exchange of contracts. Another one I was interested in had "we have accepted an offer of £**, anyone interested should submitting a higher offer before exchange". This property stayed online for months and the offers slowly crept up. I'm not sure how you proceed with legal and survey if you know someone may come along and offer a higher price.

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6 hours ago, lynn said:

I had a similar experience with a house I was looking at for a BTL. The estate agent said that as it was a corporate sale, it would stay listed until exchange of contracts. Another one I was interested in had "we have accepted an offer of £**, anyone interested should submitting a higher offer before exchange". This property stayed online for months and the offers slowly crept up. I'm not sure how you proceed with legal and survey if you know someone may come along and offer a higher price.

If it's a corporate sale, i.e. a repossession, the bank has an obligation to get the highest price for it, hence why it can't be taken off the market and why it'll say what offer has been accepted until exchange. It's always the risk with a repossession, but they're generally cheaper because of it. The only way to avoid getting gazumped in England is to buy at auction.

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