Offer Accepted But Seller Still Looking: How Long Do You Wait?

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If you find yourself with your offer accepted on the house you want to buy, but the seller is still looking for somewhere to buy themselves, what should you do? Do you continue to look for other properties, do you wait for the seller to find somewhere, and more importantly, do you start the costly exercise of starting the buying process?

If you are a first time buyer, this will all be new to you of course, and buying your first house can be a scary process.

If your offer is accepted by a seller who is still looking for their next property, you are better to wait until they find somewhere before you start the buying process and incurring costs. There’s a risk the sellers don’t find a place to buy and you could be left high and dry and be out of pocket.

Please also read this article to discover how you could save £71,475 on your next mortgage if you sell your house and rent before buying againEven I was amazed when I did the calculations! The strategies you learn in this article will not only save you money, but it will also reduce the stress of buying your next house.

What are the risks if offer accepted but seller still looking?

The biggest risk if your offer is accepted but the seller is still looking is you incur costs including survey fees, legal fees, the costs of searches and the costs associated with applying for a mortgage. There’s also the risk of wasting time whilst waiting for the sellers to find somewhere to buy.

Until the sellers have found a new place to move to, there’s always the risk they will change their mind. The sellers are not bound by an offer in England and Wales until contracts are exchanged, which means until they’ve found somewhere, the risk of them changing their mind is that much higher.

Do estate agents recommend offers to be accepted when seller is still looking?

Many estate agents will not recommend offers to be accepted when seller is still looking, as they prefer buyers and sellers to be in a position to proceed before offers are accepted. Having said that in a chain sale, at some point offers need to be accepted before others in the chain have offers.

On the other hand, the sellers need to have a firm offer before an estate agent will accept an offer from them for their onward purchase.

On a positive note, it’s likely that if the sellers are keen to sell and move, by having an agreed offer on their house, they are more likely to be anxious to find somewhere to move to.

Should you apply for a mortgage or not if offer accepted but seller still looking?

You should apply for a mortgage if your offer is accepted but the seller is still looking, as even if this purchase falls through you will need a mortgage for the property you finally buy. But don’t have the survey or valuation done if this is a cost until the sellers have found somewhere to buy.

At the very least you should obtain a mortgage in principle so you can move quickly once the sellers have found somewhere to buy, or if this sale falls through you know your mortgage will be quicker to arrange when you find somewhere else to buy.

You also need to consider that mortgage offers have an expiry date, which is usually 6-months from the offer date. Often times the lender will extend the offer date, but this needs to be taken account of when the seller has yet to find a house after accepting your offer.

Some mortgage lenders may want to check the valuation of the property if the offer expires, and some with charge an additional fee too.

Should you pay for a survey if offer accepted but seller still looking?

You should wait before paying for a survey if your offer is accepted but the seller is still looking, because if the purchase falls through the cost of the survey will be wasted as there’s a risk the sellers will change their mind. Wait for the sellers to find a place before arranging the survey.

Should you start the legal conveyancing if offer accepted but seller still looking?

You should wait before starting the legal conveyancing process if your offer is accepted but the seller is still looking, because if the purchase falls through these costs will be wasted as the risk is the sellers change their mind. Wait for the sellers to find a place before incurring legal costs.

Should you pay for searches if offer accepted but seller still looking?

Wait before paying for searches as part of the legal conveyancing if your offer is accepted but the seller is still looking, because if the purchase falls through these costs will be wasted as the risk is the sellers change their mind. Wait for the sellers find a place before paying for searches.

Can a seller change their mind after accepting an offer?

Sellers can change their mind after accepting an offer until contracts are exchanged, which is why it’s a risk to start the buying process and incurring costs after your offer is accepted but the seller is still looking. The risk is they don’t find a house and change their minds about moving at all.

How long to wait for vendor to find property

After your offer is accepted but vendor is still looking for a property, you should only wait about 3-4 weeks before looking for another property. The sellers should already have been looking prior to your offer, and will be spurred on by your offer too.

Check with the estate agent every week to see how things are progressing, which will keep the pressure on the sellers to find a property. If it goes past three weeks and the vendor has still not found somewhere, consider pulling out of the purchase.

Having said that, you may find you move from this property to another one where the sellers are also still looking. This will start the time clock running again with the next property, unless you search for properties that a chain-free.

If the time of waiting goes beyond 2-3 weeks, you may request a meeting with the sellers to find out why they are not able to find a property.

The sellers may be using this as an excuse to delay proceedings, as there may be a underlying problem they are waiting to resolve. This may be a problem with their finances, or one of the sellers may be facing redundancy, but either way, you need to find out so you don’t waste you time.

Alternatives to waiting for the seller to find a property

Have a frank discussion with the estate agent to say you’ll start looking for another property. Realistically, if the sellers are keen to sell they should be able to find a property within one month, otherwise you may find the delay is because they are dragging their feet.

Ask if the sellers are willing to move into rented accommodation to allow you to proceed with the purchase (see below). But if you have pets it’s not always easy to find rented accommodation that accepts pets. You could also ask if the sellers are willing to cover the costs associated with the survey and searches, but that you will refund these on completion.

But having said that you may as well wait, as the sellers will need to have a survey and searches done on the property they find in any event. So by your delay in moving forward with the survey, searches and legal conveyancing shouldn’t hold the purchase up.

Problems that can be caused by an offer being accepted when the seller is still looking

The main problem if your offer is accepted but the seller is still looking is if you’re in a conveyancing sales chain and your house sale is dependent on your onward purchase. Your buyers may not want to wait for the sellers of the house you’re buying, which means you move into rented accommodation or move in with a relative.

Final thoughts about offer accepted but seller still looking

If your offer is accepted but the seller is still looking you need to decide on how long you are prepared to wait for them to find somewhere to buy. But the other decision you need to make is whether to keep looking whilst you are waiting for them.

You may also be able to use this to your advantage too and put in a cheeky offer to buy the house. But this does boil down to my advice to most home buyers, which is to sell and rent before buying again.

There are 15 advantages to this strategy you may like to read about vs the 11 disadvantages. But before you decide, read this next section and the linked-to article about the savings you can make.

Please don’t forget to read this before you leave…

Please don’t forget to also read this article to discover how you could save £71,475 on your next mortgage if you sell your house and rent before buying againAs I said earlier, even I was amazed when I did the calculations! Learn about how you will reduce the stress of moving house, whilst at the same time potentially save thousands in the process!

You may also want to read about “offer accepted on house but still on market“, and what to do if you find yourself in this situation. Included in this article is what to do if your offer is accepted, but still on Rightmove too.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article about offer accepted but seller still looking

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Also, if you have any questions, please feel free to comment below too. Please also share any of your experiences with properties you’ve bought. Alternatively, if you need more help, please feel free to contact us on our contact us page here. Or join the discussion and ask your question in the property forum.

Offer Accepted But Seller Still Looking: How Long Do You Wait?

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