Vendors favour ‘smooth’ sale over highest offer

Vendors favour ‘smooth’ sale over highest offer
 Credit: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Coronavirus lockdown and the resulting market disruption have led vendors to rethink their priorities, according to an estate agent.

James Forrester, managing director of estate agent Barrows and Forrester, said some property vendors are now favouring a straightforward sale over the highest offer.

This was particularly true during the stamp duty holiday, which has made sellers realise that the sales process is considerably “clogged up”.

Mr Forrester said: “As a result, they are now opting for the smoothest sale rather than the highest bidder in an attempt to speed up the process.”

Mortgage brokers have said they are seeing lenders’ service levels impact the sales process, amid high demand and new working patterns.

Jennifer Noakes, associate director at Intra Private Finance, said: “Lenders’ service levels are suffering due to the amount of staff that are working from home and the rush of applications since the stamp duty holiday was announced. 

“The legal process is also much slower, again because of the stamp duty rush but also because of all the transactions that were put on hold during lockdown.”

Nik Mair, managing director at London Mortgage Solutions, agreed the slowdown by lenders was having a knock-on effect on the completion of the sales process.

But Mr Mair said buyers and sellers were prepared for this, and that in the majority of cases the delays were “not untenable” despite chains being in place.

He added: “Property chains are not a new phenomenon and have existed prior to the pandemic, therefore we are merely adapting to a slower approach.”

Mr Forrester also said cash buyers did not necessarily present a greater advantage over mortgaged buyers for sellers.

“[Cash] buyers can often be the most unpredictable when it comes to their commitment to a sale,” he said.

Mr Forrester continued: “With no fees to pay like someone buying with a mortgage, they have less to lose when pulling out of a sale and this can leave the seller in a far worse position than if they had opted for a buyer in a slightly more complicated position.”

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