Choosing the right home buyer

Advice on choosing a buyer in Northern Ireland


There are certain types of interested parties who will have certain characteristics. Sellers are often vulnerable to buyers trying at the last minute to renegotiate the price downwards when the legals are just ready to sign, by buyers using the excuse of a bad survey or financial difficulties.

Sellers should ask a few relevant questions to find out who the real potential buyers are and what their personality traits are:

Questions to ask

  • Do you have a property to sell?
  • Where is it?
  • How much of a mortgage can you afford?
  • Where else have you been looking?
  • When do you want to move?
  • How long have you been looking?

First time buyers

  • Have a specific limited budget.
  • Can only spend what they can borrow.
  • Can arrange mortgages but don’t know how to.
  • Will rely on advisors.
  • Are flexible on completion dates but have no sense of urgency on progressing their mortgage or legals which can cause you uncertainty and stress later.

Cash buyers

  • Are a rare breed.
  • May not be cash buyers at all.
  • They are using their own cash so bare in mind funds may be tight.
  • May not take survey or mortgage process seriously until late on causing you delay.
  • They are likely to be flexible on completion dates.
  • Can complete quickly if necessary.

House already sold buyers (in rented situation)

  • Will need mortgage to add to funds from their sold property.
  • Will know exactly what they can afford and will have limited financial flexibility.
  • Flexible completion dates at a time that suits the seller.
  • Can complete quickly if necessary.

House to sell buyers

  • Not really buyers at all because, unless financially well off, despite what they say they won’t sign up until their own property is not only agreed for sale but also signed for.
  • Timing unknown.
  • Will probably not yet have made any mortgage enquiries.
  • Don’t tell them you’ll keep the property or hold the price for them even if they are nice.
  • Ask your agent about whether their house will sell quickly.
  • Make sure your agent investigates the potential buyer’s financial and own property situation.
  • Can they raise the mortgage they claim to be able to?
  • Beware of recently self employed buyers who will have difficulty verifying their income for mortgage purposes.
  • Is their property really agreed for sale?

It is worthwhile being forward and asking questions to eliminate time-wasters, or indeed buyers who will prolong the chain and delay your move.