What does your estate agent say? Do you believe them?
Okay, I don't know the market in Bournemouth flats. You could try doing some research here on Zoopla as to how much other people are getting.
I'm trying to sell a probate property at the moment in the North of England, and an offer of 5% below asking would be really very good news.
Before anyone can answer this question they need to know:
1] How long has the flat been on the market?
2] Have you had a lot of viewings, any second viewings or any other offers in that time?
3] Are there any similar flats on the market, or have any such sold recently, and if so for how much? How long were they on the market?
Suppose this offer has been made in the first week you've had it on the market, after 2 or 3 viewings, and there aren't many similar flats on the market, or they are going very quickly. In this case, you might well get other offers, soon, even if you turn this one down. They might not be better than this, but they will probably not be much worse.
Suppose, OTOH that you have had the property on the market since last September, you've had one or two viewings since March but otherwise not much interest. There are a forest of "flat for sale" signs around. A quick check shows that most flats like yours are going for less than 150,000. In that case you might wait another 6 months and get no other offers.
These questions tell you the likelihood of getting another sale.
Then there are other issues. You don't say whether this offer is a first offer - where you might be able to negotiate up a bit to £155,000 - or a "best and final" where you have to take or leave that offer. If you can negotiate, then give it a go, if not then you have to work with figure you have.
Then there is the question of your timetable. As well as how long the house has been on the market, anyone advising you needs to know how desperate you are to sell.
If there's another baby on the way, then you need a sale NOW. If someone's health is failing and they can't manage the steps the same may apply. If there's another property you really want to buy, then you need a sale ASAP in case your "target" gets snapped up by someone else.
However, you may have got tired of the area, or fancy living in somewhere bigger/smaller. You might be thinking that you need to be nearer children or parents - but not urgently. In this sort of circumstance, you can afford to wait for an offer that will suit you better - but only if you have reason to think one will come along. I'm trying to sell a probate property and the value of those tends to fall as the time they have been unoccupied increases, while the bills for keeping them in good repair keep on coming in - another reason for haste.
Then there is the question of your own finances. Is taking £7,500 less than the asking price going to cause you real problems? I don't mean not being able to take an extra holiday or having to manage without installing a conservatory on the new place this year. I mean will it make the difference between getting a place in the catchment area of a good school or a 2nd rate school? Might it mean that you have to give up on buying a place you really want (though try negotiating on that one)?
There is also your opinion on the state of the housing market both nationally and locally. But I don't mean the sort of opinion you can get in the pub close to closing time. I mean the "I have looked at the figures carefully and it looks like this - here are my reasons," type opinion.
My opinion is that the housing market nationally is not going to improve any time soon - and I think most experts agree with me. Your local market may be an exception - find out.
There is one other set of questions which is around the people making the offer. Is it a genuine one, or are they just seeing what happens? If you think they really want your flat, then is it a "proceedable" offer?
This means that they have cash or a written guarantee of a mortgage and either no chain or a secure one - all these things your estate agent should investigate for you.
You might find that they "rather hope" to sell somewhere and "think" that the bank will give them a mortgage. In those circumstances, tell them that you are interested in their offer, but can't take the house off the market until they are in a position to proceed. You lose nothing that way.
Otherwise you might lose the only offer you'll get for months, in a declining market.
So, summary of advice from an uninformed stranger with no data on your situation:
A] Your flat has been on the market for less than 3 months
B] You know that other people are interested
C] You can afford to wait and see, taking less later if necessary.
THEN turn the offer down.
Under all other circumstances, try to negotiate it up a bit (say to £155,000) and then take the best offer they will make. In most places 5% under asking is a GOOD offer these days.
Answered on Jun 30 2011,