Is honour a thing of the past?

 Is there any honour left in the property business? I sometimes think not but then I come across really wonderful people whose word is their bond and who would never renege on a deal.
The thing is, honour, in the sense of sticking to your word, is a two way street and you cannot expect a seller to honour a deal if a buyer isn’t completely straightforward. Then, of course there are the agents in the middle and are they playing on a level wicket.
Buyers make a ‘silly’ offer, followed up, after embarrassment, by a good offer, by which time they have upset the seller…then, any ‘messing around’ and the seller is not going to feel any compunction at going back on the market.
So, for buyers, don’t make silly offers and don’t mess around.
What is ‘messing around’? Probably telling the agent you are a cash buyer with nothing to sell, then, two weeks into the deal, letting it slip you have your property on the market and you do not yet have a buyer…or, telling the agent you are cash, when, what you mean is, you’re getting cash from raising a loan or mortgage…or…there are a long list of ‘messing around’ activities which do not endear you to the seller or your agent.
Sellers…’messing around’ is playing buyers and/or agents off against each other so we don’t know what to believe and then don’t want to deal with you because we lose trust. Thankfully, with the new Consumer Protection Regulations, activities like this can get you a criminal record so we hope sellers, tempted to play poker with buyers, will think twice.
Another invidious practice is to put your property on the market and, when a buyer is found, you do not want to put the deal in hand as you have not found a property to buy. In that very uncertain (for the buyer) scenario, what should the buyer do? On the whole, they will keep looking. What then happens is; you find a place to buy and your buyer has bought elsewhere.
When you have a buyer, put the sale in hand with solicitors immediately. It shows good faith. You need a transparent agent who will explain to the buyer clearly that they may have to wait a little before getting completion. That is the normal state of affairs. Managing expectations is the name of the game. If you’re kept in the picture, you are generally more content to wait at both ends.
Gazumping: If you agree a price, stick to it and give the buyer time to get the deal finalised. Keeping a property actively available to be sold to another party, when you have a buyer proceeding, is not good practice. Now, with the CPR regulations mentioned previously, you need to advise the buyer you are doing that, in which case they are quite likely to withdraw their offer and leave you back at square one.
Buyers, once you agree a price, don’t drop your offer at the last minute unless serious problems are uncovered which definitely are going to cost much more than you envisaged.
The main thing in property sales is: Do as you would be done by…be nice, be sensible and keep a sense of proportion. Deal with an agent and a solicitor who respect these values too.

Paul Bonett F.N.A.E.A. M.A.R.L.A.