Q. I have recently agreed to buy a property and the sale is approximately two weeks along, solicitors have been appointed on both sides and I am keen excited to complete and move in. However my Estate Agent called with terrible news today, the seller has decided he thinks the property has been undersold and he is now demanding another £10,000 or the deal is off. As you can imagine having already committed myself to the purchase financially and emotionally I am nothing short of devastated and even if I managed to scrape the extra funds together and agree to accept this and pay the extra what is to stop him doing this again and continuing to move the goal posts?
A. I am so sorry to hear this, but unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. Too often and especially if an offer comes in quickly, sellers can almost get cold feet and start to question whether or not the Estate Agents valuation was accurate and can start to make investigations themselves which convince them that they have undersold. Sadly and in the majority of cases the valuation will be correct but once the seller has decided he wants more money you are literally held to ransom, either you pay the extra or risk losing the property altogether. It is quite a predicament to find yourself in, because A. you don’t want to lose the property but B. you don’t want to overpay for the property either. Having dealt with this scenario many times I always ask the buyer to consider how long they will spend in the property, are you in it for the long haul? If so and you do really feel that there is no other property that will do, and financially you can find the extra money then I’d be tempted to advise them to pay the extra as in 5 years’ time the extra £10,000 will be irrelevant. However, if you already feel that you are paying top money and you think you can get a better deal elsewhere then walk. If you do decide to proceed then instruct your solicitor to race to exchange of contracts as quickly as possible to make the deal legally binding and prevent the same thing happening again. Personally I don’t have much time for sellers that decide to move the goalposts once they have accepted an offer, if they are not happy with the price in the first place then DON’T accept an offer.