What is a Note of Interest and an Offer?
A note of interest is a way of a potential buyer’s solicitor letting the seller’s solicitor/estate agent know that their client might be interested in purchasing their client’s property.
It is designed to avoid a property being sold to someone else before their client has a chance to make an offer. There is no guarantee that the property won’t be sold, though, and the selling agent has to take their client’s instructions as to whether or not they wish to go back to the party who has ‘noted interest’ to give them an opportunity to offer.
An offer is the next step. It is an offer to purchase the property from the seller. An offer can be verbal or in writing. It can also be from the potential buyer or from a solicitor.
However, the offer has no legal status unless it is submitted by a solicitor. Once a seller’s solicitor indicates acceptance of the offer, whether verbally or in writing, there are legal consequences as to the seller being bound to sell the property to that person.
Should I just look at the price on the offer?
No. Other factors will be important. The main conditions of the offer that you need to look out for are the price, the Date of Entry, and any additional conditions such as what extras the buyer wants you to include in the sale e.g. the fridge/freezer.
How many offers should I look to receive? What is a Closing Date?
Ultimately, you only need one offer that is acceptable to you for you to sell your property! However, in some circumstances you will want to ask multiple interested parties to all submit their offers at the same time.
This is called a Closing Date. You will know that there are multiple interested parties if you have multiple Notes of Interest. Your solicitor/estate agent will go back to their solicitors and tell them that a Closing Date has been set. This means that everyone has to submit their offers by a certain time on a certain day.
What’s the benefit to you? A Closing Date tends to inject a little competition into the buying process. Nobody knows what the other interested parties will offer so there is a chance that, in offering as much as they can to ensure that they ‘win’, they might pay a little bit more than they would have if they were the only party bidding on your property.
Will the buyer stick to the offer, or can I try and renegotiate?
You are never obliged to accept any offer, even if someone makes an offer for the full asking price. You are therefore always able to go back to the potential buyer’s solicitor and try to negotiate with them until you find a compromise that suits both parties. This is where your solicitor/estate agent really earns their crust on your behalf!
OK, cool, I’ve decided on an offer, what do I do now?
Congratulations! Put the champagne on ice though, there’s still some way to go!