Houses.co.uk offers advice on choosing the best buyer

With the Easter period traditionally being one of the busiest times of the year in the housing market, Russell Bennett, co-founder of online estate agent Houses.co.uk, has issued a caution to sellers that the highest bid is not necessarily the best.

"As house prices continue to rise to record levels, desperate buyers are competing fiercely for a low number of properties. Many buyers, particularly in London where there is now talk of a 'superbubble', are making desperately high offers that they can't afford and can't get a mortgage for," said Russell.

"A national shortage of properties on the housing market means that those that are listed are selling quickly, often with multiple offers from buyers keen to quickly secure a sale," he added.

In a seller's market, choosing the strongest offer isn't always about the highest price. There are a number of factors that you have to consider in order to assess which offer stacks up best and minimise the risk of a deal collapsing:

House for For Sale• Make sure that your estate agent gives you a summary of each potential buyer's circumstances; including their timescales, health of the chain that they are in and their level of interest.

• Look at each offer and how it is being funded – the size of deposit that a seller can put down will influence the likelihood of the deal going ahead. Those with a deposit of 25% or more will be the most secure.

• Assess how interested each buyer is, those who seem to love your property and have an emotional attachment to it will be more likely to stick with the sale and not change their mind.

• If you need to sell quickly, with the lowest risk of the sale falling through, then offers with no chain or a cash buyer may be the best option, even if the offer isn't quite the highest that you have received.

• Finally, if you really can't decide between buyers with similar offers consider going to 'final offers'. Your estate agent should be honest with the potential buyers and let them know that a small increase will put their offer in front and secure the sale.

By Russell Bennett

Russell is an experienced estate agent and co-founder of Houses.co.uk, a new online estate agency that will sell your home anywhere in the UK for only £395.

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