Q. Dear Russell, I’m selling my home but it is taking ages. How do I know if the buyer is stalling?
A. The key is to have a good solicitor on board who is a specialist in residential property rather than a generalist. They will be able to deal with any stalling by the buyer. Buyers have numerous tactics for stalling, including raising more and more enquiries which get steadily more irrelevant or which have even been asked before. Or they blame the lender for dragging its feet.
Sellers need to be decisive in this situation. Perhaps set up a meeting with the buyer and try to iron out any issues. The alternative is to give the buyer a deadline. Get your solicitor to write to the buyer – don’t be unreasonable but make it clear that you need to get on with selling the property.
You can also put the property back on the market and see if you get any other offers – inform the buyer of this in the letter and be clear that you cannot be waiting around for a decision.
Q. Dear Russell, I keep missing out on sealed bids. Do you have any advice?
A. With sealed bids, try to find out as much as you can from the estate agent. Get an idea of how many potential buyers are involved and their profiles. But keep your cards close to your chest. If there is a deadline, submit your bid as close to it as possible to limit how much information leaks. Also bid an odd number – if you are prepared to put in slightly more, then an extra £100 can make a difference.
Come across as organised. When you submit your bid, put the names of your solicitor and mortgage lender. If you are in a chain, you could also give the contact details of your agent so the seller can find out how close you are to completion.
Russell Hunt is managing director of Property Hunt, a search agent for London and the Home Counties.