ASK THE EXPERT


To start with, I should congratulate you on having two prospective buyers champing at the bit at the same time. These days, that’s quite an unusual problem to have!

As for what you should do to resolve it, while there is no absolutely right or wrong way to deal with this kind of situation, the one thing I would advise against doing is to renege on your existing agreement with “Buyer A,” just because “Buyer B” saw your home first. That would simply cause a lot of bad feeling – and quite understandably.

That aside, this issue really comes down to weighing up the pros and cons and coming to a decision on a purely pragmatic basis. And basically, there are two courses of action open to you:-

Firstly, you could go back to both parties and ask for best and final offers. To avoid a bidding war, you would need to give them a strict deadline, after which no more negotiations would be entered into. Then you would simply make your decision on the basis of the best combination of price and “proceedability.”

Alternatively, you could take what I suppose you could call the “principled” option, and stick with the offer you have already accepted.

In your particular case, I would probably go for the second option. Not necessarily out of any sense of moral obligation, I hasten to add, but purely on the balance of risk and reward. Yes, by going for best and final offers, you might end up achieving a higher price. The downside, however, is that you could scare away both prospective buyers altogether. On the other hand, sticking with the first offer puts you in a kind of “Heads you win, tails you don’t lose” position. If you explain your moral predicament to Buyer B, he or she ought to be quite understanding – and with any luck might still be around if the deal with Buyer A subsequently falls through.

In any event, as I said, it’s a nice problem to have!