ASK THE EXPERT
Q. I only put my house on the market a few days ago and I’ve already had an offer. I am tempted to wait for a better one, but my agent is advising me to accept. What should I do?
A. This really all comes down to the question of how much you trust your agent. If you chose them purely because they were the cheapest, or because they obligingly gave you a higher valuation than anyone else, then I can readily understand why you may now be having doubts about the quality of their advice. Agents who routinely overvalue in order to gain the instruction are not being strictly honest with their clients at the very outset of the relationship – while when it comes to lower fees, it’s worth remembering that you generally get what you pay for in life!
If, on the other hand, you chose your agent wisely – either on the basis of their professional reputation or through personal recommendation -- then I would strongly suggest that you trust their advice. After all, they are the experts on the local property market. Naturally, like any vendor, you want to get the very best possible price for your most valuable asset, so it’s tempting to believe that there are always higher offers just around the corner. Nevertheless, you know what they say about a bird in the hand!
Of course, you can always try hedging your bets by accepting this first offer while keeping your home on the market. After all, under the English system nothing is legally binding on either party until exchange of contracts. But I would be very cautious about doing so, not least because your agent would be obliged to inform your buyers of the fact, in writing – and you could end up losing them.
Indeed, all things considered, I would say that you are really quite fortunate to have received a reasonable offer so quickly. And on a positive note, the fact that you already have a firm offer under your belt means that you now have a much clearer idea of how much you can afford to spend on your next purchase.