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Mark206000

House 'off The Market'

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Hello !

I have put an offer in for a house and the sale has been agreed. Part of our condition was the house would be removed from the market.

It has gone marked as sale agreed / sold on propertynews / pal and their own website. Estate agent said this is it 'off the market'. I didn't agree and we had a bit of an exchange on the phone, but they won't budge.

If I didn't stipulate that it had to come off the market as part of the deal I imagine the house would be sitting as it is now, sale agreed / sold ?! But we clearly told them it had to come of the market and even the estate agent letter confirms this to us.

In your opinion, is this off the market ?! They also said they had no facility to remove it from propertynews etc ?

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Hello !

I have put an offer in for a house and the sale has been agreed. Part of our condition was the house would be removed from the market.

It has gone marked as sale agreed / sold on propertynews / pal and their own website. Estate agent said this is it 'off the market'. I didn't agree and we had a bit of an exchange on the phone, but they won't budge.

If I didn't stipulate that it had to come off the market as part of the deal I imagine the house would be sitting as it is now, sale agreed / sold ?! But we clearly told them it had to come of the market and even the estate agent letter confirms this to us.

In your opinion, is this off the market ?! They also said they had no facility to remove it from propertynews etc ?

This is one of my bug bears about buyers to be completely honest with you. Look at it this way, it often takes around 12 weeks to complete a sale from the moment it goes sale agreed and in many cases it takes alot longer. In this time anything can spring up that could kill the sale such as mortgage turned down, the survey finds something that puts the buyer off, or simply human nature causes people to go back on a deal and they pull out for no good reason. If the property is completely off the market, ie it cant be seen online or the agent wont do any more viewings at it, then thats 3 or 4 months wasted if you pull out of the sale or you cant go ahead due to unforseen circumstances. Do you expect the vendor to show complete faith in you with no protection or back up if you pull out at any time until contracts are due to be exchanged? I think it's only fair that they are allowed to keep doing viewings but other potential buyers are made aware that a sale is proceeding and is getting close to exchange of contracts. If you are sure that you are going to go ahead with the sale and are demanding that it is taken off the market then why not show good faith and put down a non-refundable deposit. That way the vendor has some compensation for 3-4 months of wasted time and turning away other buyers if you pull out.

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for once i am agreeing with an EA. My friend done eaxactly what relaistic EA said. it went right down to the wire, mortgage approved etc and my mate pulled out because he split from the mrs.

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This is one of my bug bears about buyers to be completely honest with you. Look at it this way, it often takes around 12 weeks to complete a sale from the moment it goes sale agreed and in many cases it takes alot longer. In this time anything can spring up that could kill the sale such as mortgage turned down, the survey finds something that puts the buyer off, or simply human nature causes people to go back on a deal and they pull out for no good reason. If the property is completely off the market, ie it cant be seen online or the agent wont do any more viewings at it, then thats 3 or 4 months wasted if you pull out of the sale or you cant go ahead due to unforseen circumstances. Do you expect the vendor to show complete faith in you with no protection or back up if you pull out at any time until contracts are due to be exchanged? I think it's only fair that they are allowed to keep doing viewings but other potential buyers are made aware that a sale is proceeding and is getting close to exchange of contracts. If you are sure that you are going to go ahead with the sale and are demanding that it is taken off the market then why not show good faith and put down a non-refundable deposit. That way the vendor has some compensation for 3-4 months of wasted time and turning away other buyers if you pull out.

My problem with this is being used as a stalking horse for other bids. It works both ways in that sellers have no qualms about getting in an increased bid close to completion and thereby inflicting solicitors costs, etc on the gazumped buyer for no actual return. This happened to me previously and I was down over £600 in solictors fee's.

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This is par for the course, they are not going to make the house invisible to the market, just in case you bomb out. I expect the picture to unfold as follows:


  • Two weeks before exchange of contracts (maybe less), they will get a new offer which, of course, is higher than yours. Expect it to be about 3-5% better.
  • You will be asked if you want to up your offer or risk losing out.
  • You refuse. Tell them that you are desperately disappointed, but there are other properties on your radar and c'est la vie. You will instruct your solicitor to halt racking up fees. Make sure you contact the vendor directly and thank him/her for their time and wish them well for the future, because the EA isn't going to pass on the full message.
  • Within the week the alternative offer will evaporate and you will be asked if still interested.
  • At this point, you make a new offer based on the well tried formula New Bid = [Original Bid - (Difference Between Fake Bid and My Original)]

Result - you get the house cheaper, vendor is mortally peeved at EA for playing fast & loose.

Enjoy!

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This is one of my bug bears about buyers to be completely honest with you. Look at it this way, it often takes around 12 weeks to complete a sale from the moment it goes sale agreed and in many cases it takes alot longer. In this time anything can spring up that could kill the sale such as mortgage turned down, the survey finds something that puts the buyer off, or simply human nature causes people to go back on a deal and they pull out for no good reason. If the property is completely off the market, ie it cant be seen online or the agent wont do any more viewings at it, then thats 3 or 4 months wasted if you pull out of the sale or you cant go ahead due to unforseen circumstances. Do you expect the vendor to show complete faith in you with no protection or back up if you pull out at any time until contracts are due to be exchanged? I think it's only fair that they are allowed to keep doing viewings but other potential buyers are made aware that a sale is proceeding and is getting close to exchange of contracts. If you are sure that you are going to go ahead with the sale and are demanding that it is taken off the market then why not show good faith and put down a non-refundable deposit. That way the vendor has some compensation for 3-4 months of wasted time and turning away other buyers if you pull out.

The vendor agreed to the request and instructed the agent to stop marketing the property. If he'd have asked for a deposit I would have give him one. Yes, if i'm spending X thousands on fees and commiting to the sale I do expect the vendor to show faith in me actually. How is it fair that other viewings could take place so allowing others to jump in after I've wasted a few months and a few grand, or does this only work the other way around in your opinion ?

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I'm not saying it's a fair system and I dont agree that you should have no protection either. As an EA I would agree to halt anymore viewings after a property went sale agreed or actively promote a property if the purchaser put down a non-refundable deposit and demanded the house came off the market. I think that is a fair risk for both parties to take and it ensures the EA doesnt lose out as the buyer is likely to be serious to go ahead by putting down some of their own money. If the sale goes through the deposit can be deducted from the sale price and you only have to pay the balance on completion day. The way I read your first post it seemed that you expected the house to come off the market without having any thought for what the vendor could lose if you pulled out later in the process. I now see that you are committed to the purchase so good luck with it.

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I'm not saying it's a fair system and I dont agree that you should have no protection either. As an EA I would agree to halt anymore viewings after a property went sale agreed or actively promote a property if the purchaser put down a non-refundable deposit and demanded the house came off the market. I think that is a fair risk for both parties to take and it ensures the EA doesnt lose out as the buyer is likely to be serious to go ahead by putting down some of their own money. If the sale goes through the deposit can be deducted from the sale price and you only have to pay the balance on completion day. The way I read your first post it seemed that you expected the house to come off the market without having any thought for what the vendor could lose if you pulled out later in the process. I now see that you are committed to the purchase so good luck with it.

This 'fairness' issue is a complete red herring in my view and is only raised by EAs when vendors are in a weak position, as is currently the case. Fairness to buyers was never ever a consideration when it was a sellers market. If you are a FTBer and think/hope that there is fairness in this business, then should get someone a bit more worldly wise else to act on your behalf in negotiations - as the saying goes 'a fool and his money are easy parted'. Gazumping and gazundering happens, it might not be morally acceptable to most decent folks but it happens so lets not pretend that there is such a thing as fairness, or a fair price. Some of us who have bought and sold several houses over 20-30 years will have probably learnt from experience just how much 'fairness' there really is.

In a buyers market like this one, when you clearly have the upper hand, you should have no hesitation on insisting that the property is withdrawn from the market as a condition of sale and never ever hand over a non-fundable deposit - why would you want to do that? Have your mortage offer already in place and go for a quick completion date to show good faith but don't part with any money. If it becomes necessary, you must be able to renegotiate without one hand being tied up your back if there is a problem with the surveyors report or something else is disclosed in the conveyancing.

EAs have the reputation they have for a reason and its not because of the perceived fairness that they bring to the process, in fact the industry recently lobbied successfully to have the HIP scheme suspended which was all about trying to promote fairness.

Realistic EA - if you want to cover your risk of nugatory work, get the vendor to hand over a deposit, is it them that you have the client/provider relationship with, not the buyer.

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I think Realistics view is totally fair - if you are going to commit to buy somewhere why not be prepared to put your money where your mouth is?

If you have agreed on a price which you believe is fair then why wouldn't you show your commitment to the deal by putting down a non-refundable deposit? (Do you think it's fair that someone remove their house form the market, be subject to solictors fees etc, and after a few months the deal falls through as YOU cannot fulfill your side of the bargain!!). A non refundable deposit could work in the buyers favour as it shows a true committment to the deal which could be used as a strong hand in the pre agreement negotiations. Obviously if there are issues that arise with a surveyors report then that would be outside of the terms of an agreement. However, if deposits were the norm maybe buyers would seek 100% assurance from their lender prior to making an offer on a house that they cannot complete on.

That said, why make a big deal that the EA remove it from their listing rather than advertise it as being sale agreed? It's difficult enough to sell a house with its status at "for sale" let alone trying to continue advertising it with a "sale agreed" status. In addition the EA won't tell any interested parties what price it was agreed at!

This 'fairness' issue is a complete red herring in my view and is only raised by EAs when vendors are in a weak position, as is currently the case. Fairness to buyers was never ever a consideration when it was a sellers market. If you are a FTBer and think/hope that there is fairness in this business, then should get someone a bit more worldly wise else to act on your behalf in negotiations - as the saying goes 'a fool and his money are easy parted'. Gazumping and gazundering happens, it might not be morally acceptable to most decent folks but it happens so lets not pretend that there is such a thing as fairness, or a fair price. Some of us who have bought and sold several houses over 20-30 years will have probably learnt from experience just how much 'fairness' there really is.

In a buyers market like this one, when you clearly have the upper hand, you should have no hesitation on insisting that the property is withdrawn from the market as a condition of sale and never ever hand over a non-fundable deposit - why would you want to do that? Have your mortage offer already in place and go for a quick completion date to show good faith but don't part with any money. If it becomes necessary, you must be able to renegotiate without one hand being tied up your back if there is a problem with the surveyors report or something else is disclosed in the conveyancing.

EAs have the reputation they have for a reason and its not because of the perceived fairness that they bring to the process, in fact the industry recently lobbied successfully to have the HIP scheme suspended which was all about trying to promote fairness.

Realistic EA - if you want to cover your risk of nugatory work, get the vendor to hand over a deposit, is it them that you have the client/provider relationship with, not the buyer.

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Whilst the resale market is slightly different I have to say that all our properties remain on the market to they are sold. Sold means what it says. It is not someone saying I would like that house but rather when there is a signed contract. We mark the houses as booked and the purchaser is given a exclusivity period of 4 or 6 weeks to sign a contract. This time frame is often extended if it is clear that the purchaser is activally progressing with the sale, however if there is little ativicaty and we have interest in that particular house we could contact the orginal purchaser to see what can be done. Usually the only time this happens is where the first purchaser has a house to sell and this sale has been delayed or fallen through. What we try to do in that suitation is to move the orginal purchaser on to a similar plot in the following phase. What we cannot do is to lock ourselves into 'bookings' that turn out not to be a booking at all. If the purchaser is not prepared to pay a deposit, part of which is non-refundable, then we do not take the booking or send out contracts.

HIP's wasnt introduced in NI. Its intention was not about fairness but more about speed. It insisted that the vender of a property had up-to date surveys and searches ready before they put the property on the market. It ment that a prospective purchaser could have a quick look at everything rather than waiting months for searches etc to be carried out as venders did not wish to spend the money until they defentally had a buyer. Intially I thought this was a good idea as it ment the vendor would have to commit to quite a bit of money before placing their house on the market and avoid those just testing the market. In pratice it turned out a disaster with a whole new bread of HIP professionals trying to make a market for themselves and appeared to do nothing to speed up the market. The process was slated jointly by vendors and purchasers. The New build sector do this work anyway as they have a mass of plots to sell on the one development.

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I think Realistics view is totally fair - if you are going to commit to buy somewhere why not be prepared to put your money where your mouth is?

If you have agreed on a price which you believe is fair then why wouldn't you show your commitment to the deal by putting down a non-refundable deposit? (Do you think it's fair that someone remove their house form the market, be subject to solictors fees etc, and after a few months the deal falls through as YOU cannot fulfill your side of the bargain!!). A non refundable deposit could work in the buyers favour as it shows a true committment to the deal which could be used as a strong hand in the pre agreement negotiations. Obviously if there are issues that arise with a surveyors report then that would be outside of the terms of an agreement. However, if deposits were the norm maybe buyers would seek 100% assurance from their lender prior to making an offer on a house that they cannot complete on.

That said, why make a big deal that the EA remove it from their listing rather than advertise it as being sale agreed? It's difficult enough to sell a house with its status at "for sale" let alone trying to continue advertising it with a "sale agreed" status. In addition the EA won't tell any interested parties what price it was agreed at!

Gavin, I'd be interested in how you would define a 'fair price', particularly in the context of a rising market, when sellers are able to exploit their position to the detriment of buyers and similarly in a falling market, when buyers are able to exploit their position to the detriment of sellers. In my view there is only the 'market price' which is why prices rise and fall as they do.

Perhaps I didn't make it clear, but a change of status to 'sale agreed' is all that I would expect to happen and again whilst I may not have explicitly stated it, my view is that you can only reasonably demand this if you can also demonstrate an ability to proceed e.g. cash buyer or mortgage offer in place. If you're not ready to move to completion or unlikely to in the near future, then I don't think you can realistically expect any demand to be actually acceded to in practice and no matter whether the house is listed or not - but you can always ask.

To me, handing over deposits at the point of agreeing a sale is akin to buying a used car before you've even had a decent test drive in it or checked that its not stolen. Sale agreed status doesn't provide you with absolute certainty that the vendor/EA will not mess you about, it happens frequently and giving over a deposit would only serve to further weaken your hand when you don't have to. The only real lever you have in the negotiation is the fact that you may walk away and I wouldn't want to have to give that up so easily, especially when there is no reciprocal arrangement in place to protect my interests.

If you've never had a problem in the past then perhaps you don't see it as I do.

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Whilst the resale market is slightly different I have to say that all our properties remain on the market to they are sold. Sold means what it says. It is not someone saying I would like that house but rather when there is a signed contract. We mark the houses as booked and the purchaser is given a exclusivity period of 4 or 6 weeks to sign a contract. This time frame is often extended if it is clear that the purchaser is activally progressing with the sale, however if there is little ativicaty and we have interest in that particular house we could contact the orginal purchaser to see what can be done. Usually the only time this happens is where the first purchaser has a house to sell and this sale has been delayed or fallen through. What we try to do in that suitation is to move the orginal purchaser on to a similar plot in the following phase. What we cannot do is to lock ourselves into 'bookings' that turn out not to be a booking at all. If the purchaser is not prepared to pay a deposit, part of which is non-refundable, then we do not take the booking or send out contracts.

HIP's wasnt introduced in NI. Its intention was not about fairness but more about speed. It insisted that the vender of a property had up-to date surveys and searches ready before they put the property on the market. It ment that a prospective purchaser could have a quick look at everything rather than waiting months for searches etc to be carried out as venders did not wish to spend the money until they defentally had a buyer. Intially I thought this was a good idea as it ment the vendor would have to commit to quite a bit of money before placing their house on the market and avoid those just testing the market. In pratice it turned out a disaster with a whole new bread of HIP professionals trying to make a market for themselves and appeared to do nothing to speed up the market. The process was slated jointly by vendors and purchasers. The New build sector do this work anyway as they have a mass of plots to sell on the one development.

Problems, delays - chicken and egg situation to me. There may have been issues with implementation but it seems to me like a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater when HIPs were simply suspended.

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Problems, delays - chicken and egg situation to me. There may have been issues with implementation but it seems to me like a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater when HIPs were simply suspended.

As I say it was never implemented in here to allow any of us to have a proper assessment of them. I understand both sides wanted rid of them. On the face of it I would welcome them although they apply more to the resale market than the newbuild.

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  • 312 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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