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Why Would a Seller Refuse to Take a Property off the Market After Offer Acceptance?

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Why Would a Seller Refuse to Take a Property off the Market After Offer Acceptance?
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The process involved with buying a property can be complicated. Even if you have found a house which you adore, and made an offer which has been verbally accepted… there can still be some surprises along the way.

It is not unheard of for a seller to refuse to take their property off the market, after they have accepted an offer. This is never a nice circumstance for a potential buyer – so it is important that you are well-versed on this possibility.

So, why would a seller refuse to take their property off the market? And is there anything a potential buyer can do to improve the situation?

Read our blog below for an answer to these questions, and more.

When does an accepted offer become official?

A property sale becomes official when an exchange of contracts takes place. This is the moment at which the sale becomes legally binding. Both parties are contractually obligated to finalise the sale on an agreed date, known as the completion date.

This stage also confirms that all of the legal paperwork is either already in place for completion or is guaranteed to be in place before then. If either party were to pull out after exchange, there would be monetary penalties.

On completion day, the seller’s solicitor will receive the sale funds, and the buyer is free to collect the keys (usually from the estate agent). The buyer is also then liable to pay any Stamp Duty due to HMRC, but this is most commonly handled by their solicitor, on their behalf. The solicitor will also register the buyer’s ownership with the Land Registry, but this is typically done before completion.

Why Would a Seller Refuse to Take a Property off the Market After Offer Acceptance?

In most cases, a seller will refuse to take a property off the market after accepting an offer because they are hoping that they will receive a higher offer than the one they have currently accepted. There are a few ways in which they might reach this conclusion – perhaps their estate agent has voiced the possibility that they could get a higher price, or the seller themselves is having doubts.

This scenario is far more common in a seller’s market where the seller has lots of options to choose from. If they feel confident that there are lots of other potential buyers in the area, then they may be nervous about proceeding with an offer which is lower than they might receive if they wait a bit longer.

A seller will also sometimes refuse to take a property off the market if they are unconvinced by the reliability of the buyer. In this case, the sum that you have offered may not be the problem – instead, the issue may be proving that you will follow through.

In this case, there are still some steps you can take to make yourself a more attractive buyer.

How to make yourself an attractive buyer to sellers

If the house seller is convinced that they can receive a higher price for their property, then there is very little you can do about that. You can try increasing your offer, if you are willing to submit to the seller’s hesitation, but otherwise there is very little you can do to force someone to sell their property.

However, if the seller is hesitating because they are unconvinced about your reliability as a buyer, then there are some steps you can take to improve this. A few options to achieve this includes:

  • Offer to put down a larger deposit
  • Pay off any outstanding debts
  • Remove yourself from a property chain (if possible)

Some of these steps might seem quite drastic, particularly since a seller’s hesitation does not necessarily mean that you are out of the running. You should treat the circumstance on a case-by-case basis, discuss with an independent property advisor and/or an estate agent, and think carefully before jumping into any decisions.

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