Buyers warned not to treat Covid chaos as an opportunity to make ‘silly’ offers

Speaking on a ‘Lessons from Lockdown’ Rightmove webinar for property professionals this morning,  Lucy Pendelton, M.D. of James Pendleton estate agents in London, said buyers who were genuinely interested in a property were shooting themselves in the foot by putting forward “silly” bids.

“There are a number of buyers out there, and we see them registering every day on Rightmove, who are perhaps looking for an opportunity, call it a fire sale or whatever they want to call it in this market.

“Interestingly, even in just the last five days, we launched a new build scheme, and we’d held off the launch because of Covid.

“It was a very successful launch with houses at £2,350,000 plus.

“We had one buyer in particular who offered half a million pounds below the asking price.

“All the other offers were 97% plus of the asking price.

“Once that offer was rejected, they came forward and tried to increase their offer by £400,000, by which time the damage had already been done.

“It’s well within the rights of that seller to be apprehensive.

“In fact all trust had gone, so that’s a message we need to be sending to buyers.

“Don’t see this as an opportunity to make silly offers, incredibly low offers, as it might not put you in good stead if you actually want to buy this property.

“No vendor is going to listen to you if you’ve come in so significantly under the asking price.

“Don’t damage [your chance to buy] what is the perfect house for you just because you feel now is the time to flex your negotiation muscles without there being any data to substantiate your approach.”

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  1. mattfaizey

    They don’t need to do it that early.

    Given the idiotic propensity post Covid for sociopathic conveyancers to force clients into exchanging and completing on the same day they’re  betteroff leaving it a bit.

    In fact, just offer the asking price, or above. Then, at @11:00 on the moving day, when the poor sellers are already half moved out and committed to moving just revise the offer down.

    Seriously, a significant swathe of conveyancers are now promoting the ability for gazundering to run rife. No need to low-ball at the start.

    Just do it at the very last moment for maximum results.

    After all, the legal experts made it possible, indeed you could say they’re encouraging it.

    1. PeeBee

      I can’t believe that three eejits actually ‘liked’ the above post – so I’ll guess that one eejit ‘liked’ it three times.

      No doubt the same eejit will ‘dislike’ mine several times – probably not even stop at three…

    2. James Wilson

      That is excellent advice on how to secure a significant discount!

      1. PeeBee

        Or how to completely kibosh a purchase – potentially a whole chain of them.
        Sounds like a plan you’d like to put in action.  I hope you do just that – and I sincerely hope it bites you right on your @$$.

  2. Hillofwad71

    Well. however in some cases it might have worked . Each property and every vendors circumstances are different  Friend of mine exchanged contracts on a house earlier in the week and shaved 14% off the asking  price having gone in with an offer 25% under asking It didn’t do him any  harm .
    If the vendor takes umbrage at a derisory offer the potential  buyer  can always get a friend to front  up the purchase  and switch the contract so nothing ventured nothing gained . Not many contracts have non -assignable clauses in it  
    Different situation but some years  ago  an Asian  client wanted to buy a house on a private estate .Despite making an acceptable offer he could sense the vendor didn’t want to sell to him .for whatever  reason
    So I wheeled in  on his behalf matched his offer,agreed the deal assigned the contract.Aparentally when the Asian client  went to pick up  the keys the vendor’s face was  a picture  

  3. Headache

    What you are calling a silly bid today,will be a serious offer tomorrow


  4. Will2

    And you all wonder why estate agents have a poor reputation?

  5. LondonRealtor

    Last time I checked it was the agents job to report any and all offers to the vendor and then take their instructions on how to proceed, since when do agents lay the law down about what anyone can offer? Is this PR piece just another effort to talk the market into a state of frenzy? Ha!

    1. PeeBee

      “Last time I checked it was the agents job to report any and all offers to the vendor and then take their instructions on how to proceed,”
      Not if specific alternative instructions have been given.  But I haven’t checked for a while.
      “…since when do agents lay the law down about what anyone can offer?”
      They don’t. But their prime purpose is to work in the best interests of the vendor of the property – usually meaning to attain the optimum price.  So they do their job and negotiate with the prospective buyer to achieve that optimum price.
      Last time I checked you couldn’t do that if you don’t tell someone to up their offer when the one on the table was below the acceptable figure.

      1. LondonRealtor

        *Not if specific alternative instructions have been given.*

        I appreciate your remarks and I think I know what you’re trying to say, however this is nonsense, doesn’t matter what other instructions have been given, always present any and all offers and ask for specific instructions in writing to that particular offer, every offer is different. Its called having a fiduciary duty to the client. People (all parties) change their minds whenever money and property are concerned. Not until a fully executed contract is in escrow (with solicitors) can you take anything for granted, and even then, things happen.

        Although based in London, I sell real estate in the States regularly, I would never dream to talk on behalf of my clients in any transaction without consultation, regardless of any instructions. (This is contrary to what I was taught as a low level negotiator at a very well own firm beginning with F in Central London over 20 years ago!)

        Not to go on too much, there is a reason why I charge anything from 5 – 7% commision per listing, I have to be an expert at contract law, title insurance, qualify for and maintain real estate licenses, hold errors and omissions insurance, the list goes on etc…. maybe I should go to law school?

        1. PeeBee

          “…I think I know what you’re trying to say, however this is nonsense, doesn’t matter what other instructions have been given…”

          Suggest you read (or re-read, whichever be the most appropriate) the Estate Agents Act 1979, which is where the “nonsense” you refer to comes from.  And for what it’s worth, I don’t think you have a solitary Scooby what I’m trying to say.

          “maybe I should go to law school?”

          Maybe you should… but stick in – unlike charm school which your post indicates you may well have flunked.

          Probably with the same capital ‘F’ as your ex-employer.

          Have a nice day, y’all!

  6. Will2

    I have no problem with agents doing their job to achieve the best price for their client but when a buyer I would know not trust any agent as they are not working for me.  What I do not believe is inapproriate manipulation and advising how to screw a purchaser, or seller come to that, is part of the agent’s job.  So suggestion of encouraging last minute reductions is not professional advice but barrow boy tactics. If you want to use barrow boy tactics do not try to portray yourselves as professionals.  Act in the best interest of your client ethically.  The last time I had a purchaser buying from me and they started playing the gazunder game I told them the last minute offer was not acceptable and told them of the price had just increased at the same rate to make my point. Their costs and losses were greater than mine!  It is the barrow boy element that gives the vast majority of very professional agents the poor public reputation.  Working in the best interests of your client does not mean, IMHO, encouraging them to act  unethically.

    1. PeeBee

      The barrow boy advocating last-minute reductions isn’t an Estate Agent, Will2. 
      Estate Agents know the potential myriad of issues that such tactics could cause and wouldn’t suggest it as an option to the average buyer in a month of Sundays.

      1. mattfaizey

        If you think I’m advocating it you are either wilfully ignorant or drunk.

        I’m the chap who wishes to mandate 2weeks minimum from exchange to completion.

        1. PeeBee

          “If you think I’m advocating it you are either wilfully ignorant or drunk.”

          You may not “advocate” it – but you’ve just given an awful lot of people an incredibly stupid idea to potentially try on.  You have to be wilfully ignorant or drunk not to realise that.

          “I’m the chap who wishes to mandate 2weeks minimum from exchange to completion.”

          So are we all.  Difference being the rest of us don’t blurt out the cr@p you did in post #1.

  7. Trembler

    Don’t forget that in many individual house cases there has been three or more estate agents round to value a house (three values could be wildly £ different) and usually its the EA suggesting the biggest sale price that gets the instruction so they have a lot riding on their valuation not least vendor credability so of course they are going to tell you all this fiction within their hype.


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