Written on: 20/07/2013
I called to arrange a viewing on a property that was advertised with an “offers over” price.
I was skeptical at the “offers over” price structure, as it does nothing to give the buyer an indication of what price the seller is actually looking for and therefore is of no use when trying to calculate an offer price.
I was advised that the seller themselves were carrying out the viewings. Fair enough. I attended the viewing and was shown around by the seller. I spoke to them about what price they were looking for and whether I can make an offer to them to be told everything had to go through Swift Residential.
So I contacted Swift Residential as soon as their offices opened at 9am. I spoke to a young lady, gave my details and offer amount and was advised the sales negotiator was not in and they would contact me when they came in.
After waiting 3 hours I recalled Swift Residential to be told my offer, along with several others had been put to the seller. I was then told it may improve my chances of securing the purchase if I submitted a higher offer. I tried to gauge the amount of the offers that had already been made with no avail and Swift would not offer any guidance on what price the seller was looking for. Completely blind I submitted a higher offer.
I was then told that would be put to the seller who would make a decision in the afternoon of that day.
I received a call from Swift that afternoon to say the seller had accepted another offer. I asked if they could indicate if it was slightly or substantially higher than our offer. I was told it was slightly higher. I therefore asked to make another offer but was told I could not as the offer had been accepted and the property taken off the market. I explained I would be willing to make a higher offer, but no.
My point is where is the negotiation? I am a buyer with a mortgage in place and no chain who had no idea what price to offer due to a complete lack of information – including a lack of an asking price. I made a reasonable offer and had hoped as has always been my previous experience that I would be given the chance to make counter offers when the seller negotiated. But no negotiation after only 5 days of being on the market is ridiculous. I would have paid more and was prepared to upon negotiation. Had I known it was essentially tendered bids I would have acted accordingly.
I am very disappointed at the way the sale was handled and warn other sellers that you are likely to be missing out on higher offers by not negotiating. Negotiation is the cornerstone on which English property sales are built. If you want to sell in this manner go to auction where again you will probably get a higher price and complete within 28 days.
And buyers beware the “offers over” prices are massively lower than the price the seller wants and is only there to stimulate artificial interest. With no indication as to what price the seller would accept and no negotiation you have to think very carefully about your offer and treat it as a tendered bid. I would advise to avoid at all costs or you will waste a great deal of time and effort to get nowhere.