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Dealing with Difficult Buyers

Tuesday, 9th October 2012

Categories: Sales Selling Tips

Author: Peter Barry

A lot of people feel bad about blagging a tenner from a mate when they’ve left their wallet behind and yet think nothing of entering into a negotiation that’s worth hundreds of thousands of pounds with someone they’ve never met before. If you get a good offer on the table for your property, it’s easy to start mentally spending the cash before the papers are signed. But what happens when your ideal purchasers turn into the homebuyers from hell?
Let’s face it – everyone is on their best behaviour when a tentative deal is being played out. You want to sell your home for the best possible price, and if you’ve had an offer, then the would-be purchasers have obviously fallen in love with the house and will be on their best behaviour. On paper, they might be perfect – the deposit is in place, they might already have a mortgage approved, or they could be chain free and ready to move at a moment’s notice. However, human nature is a peculiar thing and once the dust settles, you never know what your buyer is going to throw at you (hypothetically speaking, we hope!). 

The personal touch

It doesn’t take a huge change in behaviour for over-enthusiasm to border on stalking. Don’t forget that your buyers know where you live, and if they live in the same area as you, there’s nothing to stop them ‘popping round’ to ask random questions, or to enquire on progress. Whilst it’s not advisable to deal with your buyers outside of the estate agent’s office, it’s difficult to tell them to stay away, and you obviously want to make the sale go through as swiftly and smoothly as possible. The problem arises when a breakdown in communications, or a delay in negotiations, results in more heated discussions and more frequent visits.
Price drop

Also known as ‘gazunderging’ this perfectly legal but potentially devastating practice is more common in a falling market. But ruthless buyers have no qualms about lowering their offer at the last minute, especially if they know you’re desperate to move, or are in a precarious chain. In theory, your buyer has no obligation to make good their offer until contracts have been exchanged and it’s not unheard of for fraught vendors to receive a reduced offer the day before they are due to sign on the dotted line.
Caveats for completing

Buyers can be difficult without actually jeopardising the sale: one of the most annoying tactics is adding an increasing list of specifics that they would like undertaken before they exchange. This could be anything from re-decorating or making good repairs, to replacing windows, supplying extra information, answering questions, or paying for non-mandatory checks to the house.
Most buyers won’t make you jump through hoops to seal the deal. However, if you end up with a difficult purchaser, it’s important to keep your cool, try to answer all queries within reason, and politely request that all negotiations and requests for further information be dealt with via your estate agent. Remember, you only have to deal with them for the duration of the sale so the sooner it is completed, the better for all involved.

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