The early stages of an agreed sale when a prospective buyer's offer on a property has been accepted by the seller, before contracts have been exchanged. Also referred to as 'Sold Subject to Contract' (SSTC).
At this point, the estate agent or seller would usually cease marketing the property in order to prevent any higher offers 'gazumping' the bid of the original buyer but the reality is that until contracts are exchanged, either party can back out of the agreement to buy/sell. Hence it can be a nail-biting time for buyers!
So what can you do as a buyer to keep your purchase moving in the right direction?
- Put in an offer at the asking price as early as possible (and hope that a cash buyer doesn't come along and do the same!).
- Avoid the GAZUMP! Try to appear as attractive a prospect as possible to the seller. Are you a cash buyer? Chain-free? Are you already on the market or have you already sold and moved into rented? Do you have a mortgage agreed in principle? If the answer is yes to some or all of these questions, you should be hot to trot!
- Enlist the help of a good solicitor. A conveyancing solicitor worth their salt should keep a sale moving in the right direction for you.
- Get out of your own way! Do your bit for the chain and make sure your solicitor can contact you easily and that you're returning paperwork in a timely manner.
- Take the high road and avoid petty squabbles over white goods, fixtures and fittings. Any major issues should have been detected at survey stage and all price negotiations dealt with then.
- And lastly, BE NICE! If there's competition for a property, a seller is always more likely to chose the buyer that's polite and amenable from the get-go.