Once an offer is made and accepted on a property, you may think the price agreed is a done deal. However, there remains room for manoeuvre on both sides of the deal, meaning the buyer can reduce their offer or the seller can ask for more, as long as they do it at the right time during the conveyancing process.
When can you renegotiate during conveyancing?
The key point to understand is that the sale is not legally binding until you exchange contracts. The contracts of sale for a property will specify an agreed price and once both parties have signed and exchanged contracts, the buyer is committed to paying that price. Failure to do so could result in the forfeit of your deposit and possible legal action from the buyer.
While it is theoretically possible for either party to attempt to renegotiate the sale price after contracts have been exchanged, neither party is obliged to change the agreement. It is therefore unlikely that you will be able to renegotiate at this point unless there are particularly exceptional circumstances.
Can you negotiate the house price after the offer has been accepted?
Yes, it is legal and quite common, especially if the survey of the property reveals extensive damage, to negotiate a house price after an offer has been accepted.
Once you have had an acceptance from the seller on your offer for the property, the property is technically ‘sold subject to contract’ which means it is not yet a legally binding sale and you can still negotiate on the price.
Can the seller change the price after contract has been signed?
No, once the contract has been signed the seller is legally obligated to sell the property to you and cannot change the price.
Sometimes a seller gets an appraisal of their property that is much higher than they expected, or they receive a higher offer from another buyer and want to change the price or back out, but, if the contract is signed, they have to go through with it.
Can you change your offer on a house after inspection?
Yes, as long as you haven’t signed a contract, your purchase of the house remains Subject to Contract, and you can change your mind whenever you like.
Why you might want to renegotiate before exchange of contracts
It is actually fairly common for there to be some amount of negotiation over the sale price after an initial offer has been made and there are two main reasons for this.
First, the checks and searches carried out by the buyer’s solicitor, or a building survey carried out on their behalf may reveal issues that affect the buyer’s perception of the property’s value. For example, they may discover that a new housing estate is due to be built near to the property, or that there are issues with the property’s roof which will be expensive to fix. The buyer may therefore want to negotiate a lower price to offset these issues.
Secondly, the seller may receive another offer, either for the same amount or higher, and ask the buyer if they are willing to up their offer to beat the competing offer. This is perfectly legal, even if it can be frustrating for the buyer, especially if they have already spent money on checks and searches or a survey.
Again, the key thing to remember is that until exchange of contracts takes place, either party can walk away from the deal at any time. It is therefore up to you (or your agent) to decide how keen the other party is to make the sale go ahead and judge how much room there is to negotiate a house price different from the one already agreed.
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