Scotland Street

Bricks and Morals

By Denise McKenzie.

Selling your property can be deceptively straight forward when it comes to deciding which offer to accept, when the bids come in – the highest one right? Not always. The type of offer, the situation of the buyers and, surprisingly for some, the morality of who you’re selling to all play a part.

I recall a client who bought a buy to let property about 25 years ago and rented it out for the entire time, providing her with a regular income. However, now retired, she decided the time was right to sell. The property was put on the market and, as I expected, gathered a lot of interest and went to a closing date. 12 offers were received, and the client was astounded at the level of the offers. She had particularly liked a young first-time buyer who she had met when she was carrying out the viewings.

Unfortunately, the young girl’s offer was £10,000 below the top offer. I explained she was not obliged to accept the top offer or indeed any offer. It was a real moral dilemma for my client – she wondered how on earth first time buyers are supposed to get on the property ladder when they are missing out by such a huge amount. A buyer who is getting a mortgage to assist, can only borrow up to the purchase price or valuation, whichever is lower, so the extra amount has to come out of their own pocket and so eats into any deposit.

Money is, I would say, the main consideration when looking at offers, but sellers do also take into account the position of the buyer and the date of entry proposed. So there are times when the top offer is not accepted. For example, if the 2nd top offer is cash, then often a seller is drawn to accept that instead, as it’s a much smoother process which doesn’t involve waiting for mortgage offers to be issued etc.

In the case above, my client thought long and hard about it and in the end, she did accept the top offer, but she was torn about the moral dilemma. She really wanted that first time buyer to get the property but couldn’t turn her back on such a large amount of money when she had just retired.

It is a real emotional rollercoaster when selling or buying which is why it’s so important to get good advice from your Solicitor who doesn’t have the same emotional attachment to the bricks and mortar!

In the end you need to make the decision that is right for you, both financially and morally. It can be a tough balance to find, but if you’ve considered everything and got advice, you can rest assured you’ve made the right choice overall.

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