With the current sales market at boiling point and open house viewings resulting in multiple offers and sealed bid situations I was recently challenged by a buyer that agents attribute to gazumping by continuing to put other offers forward to the sellers even once an offer has been accepted and has been placed into solicitors hands, a exercise that he believed should be allowed and shouldn’t be happening. From an agent’s perspective I would like to qualify our position on this practice. Firstly, our seller is our client – he after all is the one paying our fee. Secondly, when we receive an acceptable offer that our client is happy with we are just as keen as our client is for that offer to proceed to exchange of contracts and completion. Receiving a higher offer from another buyer after the property has been removed from the market and a few weeks into the sale is not something that we as agents are ever comfortable with. However we are legally bound to put all offers forward right up until exchange of contracts takes place – this is very clear in the TPO (The Property Ombudsman) code of practice for Residential Estate Agents in clause 9a stated below:
9a By law, you must tell sellers as soon as is reasonably possible about all offers that you receive at any time until contracts have been exchanged unless the offer is an amount or type which the seller has specifically instructed you, in writing, not to pass on. You must confirm each offer in writing to the seller, and to the buyer who made it, within 2 working days.
We as agents have no ulterior motives for inviting other offers in fact often it can result in the deal falling through altogether when the original buyer becomes irate and decides to walk because he believes he is being unfairly treated and as happens on many occasions the new buyer with the higher offer fails to deliver! Nevertheless we are duty bound to comply with the code of practice bestowed upon us.