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Understanding why a seller is selling

Posted: September 2014

By Jo Eccles

When buying a property, finding it can be the easy part and agreeing a sensible price and terms with the seller can prove most difficult. Occasionally, sellers have wildly unrealistic expectations which make it almost impossible to agree a purchase. This can be down to the estate agent not informing their client about the market, to not having a good enough relationship to give them straight talking advice. It can even be down to greed on the seller’s part, or not really needing to sell at all.

This can be really frustrating for a genuine buyer. We’ve had many cases over the years where we’ve made a sensible offer on a property which the seller has rejected because they wanted more. Whilst some buyers may pay a premium for a particular property if they really want it, this type of seller usually wants such a large premium that the purchase just doesn’t make sense. In this situation, you question why the estate agent is wasting their time and yours by even showing the property. Some properties sit on the market for months and months while the seller tries their luck.

In other cases, it’s not the money that’s the deciding factor for the seller; it’s the profile of buyer. I’ve seen buyers lose out on family houses because they don’t have children for example, or they’re buying the house as an investment and the seller wants to sell to a family who is similar to themselves. We had one client who was buying and halfway through the purchase the seller decided they wanted more money, but also requested that the extra money was made as a donation to the charity he ran! We flatly refused and the purchase luckily still went ahead.

If you are buying, try to identify the motivation of your seller as quickly as possible so that you can adapt to make the relationship work. Given that a purchase can take one month or more, the better the relationship you have with all parties, the more likely your purchase will go through without too many blips along the way.

If you have a question you’d like Jo to answer please email info@sppropertygroup.com or tweet her @joeccles.