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When Should You Take Your Property Off the Market?

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Taking your property off the market is not a decision to make lightly.

Things can always still go wrong.

On the other hand, it’s common to do when things are not going well.

There are many factors to consider on this subject. We’ve looked at all of them in the article below.

When should you take your property off the market?

Your house should be taken off the market once the Exchange of Contracts takes place.

From this point onwards, the deal is legally binding, and therefore you can’t entertain offers from other people.

This will quickly be followed by the funds appearing in your account.

You are not required to take it off the market until the Exchange. However, it’swhether you should do so is debatable after accepting an offer.

For example, it may make potential buyers feel nervous if you are still actively marketing your property.

In this latter scenario, you could list your property as ‘Under Offer’ on any online job listing platform. This acknowledges the existence of your potential buyer but doesn’t completely eliminate all other options.

Do I take the house off when it’s Under Offer?

When a house is ‘Under Offer’, this means that an offer has been made and the owner is considering it.

However, this is not a legally binding contract, and the seller can still change their mind.

(This is why you will often see houses listed on Rightmove and Zoopla which are ‘Under Offer’.)

If you are serious about the Offer and plan on accepting it, whether you want to take your house off the market may depend on whether you have any ‘backup options’.

In other words, are there other people who have expressed an interest and would be willing to buy the house at the same price?

If the answer is yes, you may feel comfortable that taking the house off the market would not jeopardise your ability to find a buyer.

If the answer is no, keeping it listed can help to bring new parties into the fold.

You should ask your estate agent for their recommendation. You don’t want to make your current potential buyer feel unwanted.

But you also don’t want to back yourself into a corner and destroy your negotiating power. Considering all factors is critical.

If my estate agent advises me to take it off the market, am I forced to do so?

The answer to this question can depend on the contract that you have in place with your estate agent. For example, if you have signed a contract which states that you will follow their advice, then you may be obligated to do so, although this is rare.

Generally speaking, you are the client, and the estate agent will do as you wish (since you are paying for the service). They may have useful insights from their experience and expertise in property, though, which are worth taking into account.

On the other hand, if you are unhappy with your estate agent’s advice, you may choose to walk away, but just make sure that you do not have a contract stating that you must keep the property with them for a set duration.

Should I accept a last-minute gazumping offer?

A gazumping offer is a bid that comes through at the last minute and goes above the current offer you have on the table. Some sellers accept this Offer immediately due to the ‘promise’ of a better deal – but this can be extremely risky.

Firstly, you have less time to properly vet a gazumping buyer. Secondly, just because they have made a higher offer at the moment, this doesn’t mean they won’t suddenly reduce their bid just before completion, hoping that you have no other option but to proceed with them anyway.

Lots of people selling their house don’t only care about the sum, but also the character of the individual they’re selling to. If you are friendly with your existing buyer and want them to take over the property from you, then it may be worth holding your ground.

It may also conflict with your own personal morality to walk away from your previous buyer at the very last minute, without any warning or consideration for their living circumstances.

If your gut says that it is too good to be true, then it probably is – and just because someone has offered you a high amount, it doesn’t mean that those funds will ever truly appear in your account. You can speak to your estate agent for more guidance.

Can my estate agent refuse to take the house off the market?

Once again, any contract that you may have signed with the estate agent could give the answer to what you do/don’t have to comply with.

Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to follow the advice of your estate agent (if they’re an effective one). Lots can go wrong up until the Exchange of Contracts, so if they don’t want to take the house off the market even after you’ve accepted an offer, this could be a smart idea worth going along with.

If you are unhappy with your estate agent’s guidance, you should be within your rights to walk away and find a new estate agent to represent you.

If you’ve signed a contract, it may include a leaving fee or a set amount of time they must represent you.

So, you should always read any terms and conditions carefully before signing up with the agency.

Common reasons to take a house off the market

Although we have outlined some circumstances in which you may want to take your house off the market, plenty more reasons prompt people to do so.

Some of the most common explanations include:

  • House has been on the market for too long
  • You want to use a different estate agent
  • Your circumstances have changed
  • There is an issue in the local or national property market

In many of these situations, it may be better to revisit the idea of selling further down the line.

Or you could take a new approach – i.e., getting a different estate agent or changing your asking price.

Another reason people take their house off the market is if they are determined to sell it fast with a cash-buying company or an auction house.

This could be necessary because they have an impending debt payment due, or the property is not selling on the open market due to its condition.

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