When the time comes to place an offer on a house, it is an extremely exciting moment. You will have likely already spoken in-depth with your estate agent before doing so – and once you decide on the optimum price, it can be tense while you wait for a response from the seller.
But what happens if you are slightly less clear about what your ‘dream house’ looks like? What if, for example, you are attracted to two (or more) different houses, and want to put an offer on multiple properties?
Keeping your options open in this way is not hugely uncommon throughout the UK. That’s why we have written this blog to outline whether you are allowed to put offers on multiple houses, along with answers to the other questions surrounding this topic.
Can I put offers on multiple houses?
Yes, you are allowed to put offers on multiple houses. Until an exchange of contracts takes place, you are not legally required to honour an offer, and you can therefore pull out of a deal if you wish. You should keep in mind that if both of your offers are accepted, then you will have to make a decision on which property you prefer, unless you can afford to buy both.
You should be more wary about placing offers on multiple houses in Scotland. This is because, in Scotland, an offer becomes binding once it is accepted. You could therefore be sued if an offer is accepted and you then pull out of it in Scotland.
Why might you put offers on multiple houses?
It is common to put offers on multiple houses when you have not yet made up your mind on one property, and therefore want to keep your options open.
This situation may arise if you are undecided between moving to two different locations, and therefore want to place an offer on a property in each one. This can help you to ‘keep your options open’ if you are uncertain about which location to move into, but are certain that the move needs to be soon.
You may also put offers on multiple houses if there is one property which you prefer, but you are uncertain about the sellers. Perhaps they seem untrustworthy to you or you are not positive that they will end up selling their house at all. In that case, you may want to look elsewhere so you ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ if the seller pulls out.
Pros and cons of putting offers on multiple houses
Putting offers on multiple houses enables you to keep your options open. This is important if you have not yet decided on a specific property, living arrangement, or even location.
Some people believe that it is advantageous to put offers on multiple houses, because it ‘strengthens’ the buyer’s position. If the seller knows that you can easily go elsewhere, and have other options available, then it may make them keener to rush your deal through – especially if they don’t have other offers coming in.
On the other hand, this may cause the house seller to doubt your seriousness about purchasing the property – and as a result, they may opt for another potential buyer who has only made one offer.
You should also be wary about putting offers on multiple houses with the same estate agent, because this can make you appear less favourable to mortgage lenders.
Another disadvantage of putting offers on multiple properties is that it could increase the costs associated with buying the house. For example, if your offer is accepted on several houses, you may have to pay for a survey to be completed on all the properties, which will increase your costs.
The house buying process is largely built on trust. Unfortunately, placing offers on multiple houses can erode this trust with the seller, and often result in them turning elsewhere (if they are in a position to do so). You are far more likely to end up without any accepted offers if you make multiple offers and the seller finds out.
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