Getting your offer accepted

Once you have made your offer you have to wait to see if it is accepted. This page talks you through what happens after you have made your offer.

Does the seller have to accept an offer?

The seller may accept:

  • the highest offer, or

  • the most secure offer, or

  • the offer with the most convenient entry date.

However, the seller doesn't have to accept any offers if they think they aren't suitable - they may reject them all and start the process again. This doesn't happen often. Your solicitor will advise you on the level of offer to make, depending on circumstances such as how long the property has been on the market or whether a closing date has been fixed.

What happens once I have put in an offer?

If there is a closing date, you will have to wait until then to hear if your offer has been accepted or not. Otherwise you should hear quite quickly.

The seller could delay accepting your offer because:

  • they have received a higher offer and want to see if the conditions in this offer can be met before rejecting your offer

  • they have had notes of interest from other buyers and want to fix a closing date.

If you need a quick response, you can ask your solicitor to make it a condition of your offer that it is accepted by a certain time.

What happens if my offer is rejected?

Unfortunately, even if your offer is not accepted you will still have to pay for any valuations or surveys you have had carried out. You may also have to pay for the work your solicitor has carried out.

What happens if my offer is accepted?

If your offer is accepted, the acceptance will be conditional or 'qualified'. This means that your offer will be accepted provided you meet certain conditions. For example, you may have to change your date of entry or change a condition of your offer.

Once your offer has been accepted, your solicitor will start finalising the sale.

At this point you will have to tell your mortgage lender that you have had an offer accepted and get your mortgage approved.

You will be responsible for the property from when the sale completes, so you should start looking for buildings insurance. Your mortgage lenders will not release the mortgage unless you have buildings insurance in place.

Can I withdraw my offer?

You can withdraw your offer without penalty at any stage before the conditions in the offer and acceptance have been formally agreed. However, once the sale has been finalised, you are legally bound to buy the property and you will face financial penalties if you do not proceed with the purchase. Ask your solicitor to explain this further to you.

If you need housing advice, contact us for free.

Last updated: 29 December 2014

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

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