When your agent agrees a sale on your Cheshire home, there is a huge desire to change the status online and on the For Sale board to SOLD STC or UNDER OFFER. And why not you might ask? You have a buyer and it is good advertising for the agent. There is a saying in our industry which goes “boards breed boards” – I get it!
However as anyone who has been through the house selling process will know, there is usually a VERY long way to go from agreeing a sale to Exchanging Contracts (Exchange is the point at which the sale is legally binding) and sadly these days, Exchange comes very close to Completion (Completion is the day you move out). So, it really frustrates me when I see agents putting SOLD STC or UNDER OFFER on with days of agreeing a sale.
Because the house buying process in England and Wales is setup in such a way that allows a buyer to pull out at any stage before Exchange with no reason required and no financial penalty, it is very important that your Agent sees financial commitment from your buyer as soon as possible after the sale is agreed. There are very few ways to do this however two ways are for the buyer to pay for and book their survey and their solicitor to instruct their Searches. There are several Searches undertaken including the Local Search which provides information in relation to the roadways serving the property, whether there are any planning permission and applications (where they have been granted, issued or refused) and a vast amount of other information.
By getting your buyer to book and pay for their Survey and Searches, this shows a level of financial commitment from them. Searches and Surveys together can easily be an outlay of £1,000. On top of this, for their solicitor to order the Searches, your buyer will have to formally agree to sign up with their solicitor, which is further financial commitment if they pull out.
So, when I agree a sale on one of my client’s properties, I never mark the house as SOLD STC or UNDER OFFER straight away. I wait until the buyer has booked their Survey and their solicitor has ordered their Searches as it shows financial commitment. It is very important here to say that we stop viewings straight away and set expectations for the buyer by letting them know that once their offer is accepted we stop viewings straight away and will mark as UNDER OFFER once S & S are booked. It also encourages the buyer to get moving quickly as they want to see the property showing as SSTC or UO as quickly as possible. And with the Conveyancing process, speed and quick action is hugely beneficial and reduces the risk of sales falling through.
A further reason to not mark a home as SSTC or UO straight away is that it encourages other buyers to call which allows us to build up a back up list of other buyers in case the sale falls through (which it does sometimes sadly).
At Storeys, we care more about our Clients sale than our own marketing, so whilst it’s obviously great to agree a sale on your home, work with an Agent who has your best interests at heart rather than their own. If I can help with any property related questions, please call, text or WhatsApp me on 07501 723253.
Thanks for reading,