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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12195
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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We are selling a property through a nationwide estate agent.

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We are selling a property through a nationwide estate agent. A buyer gave us an offer and this was accepted. Then the next day the agent came back to us saying that the offer was actually £1k less as we signed up to paying the sellers legal fees.

However I read our contract with the estate agent and I never signed up to this and it was a clerical error by the estate agents to offer this

The estate agent have effectively told the buyer that they will have the property for £1k less and they are not moving on the offer. Are we in our right to ask for a goodwill payment from the estate agent for their mistake?
Thank you for your question.

At the moment there is no contract between you and the proposed purchaser.

From your narrative, there is also no requirement for you to pay the proposed purchaser's legal costs.

The results of that is, therefore, that your agent has offered to the proposed purchaser something which you have not agreed to. The purchaser may not proceed if that incentive is withdrawn by the agent.

Whilst the agent has made a mistake, that does not mean that you have a claim against the agent. The purchaser may or may not be prepared to continue with the purchase if the incentive is withdrawn. If you decides not to proceed, then there is no loss to you as the incentive was the issue that would enable the purchaser to proceed. In other words the purchaser would not have proceeded anyway.

That is the legal position. In reality, and as a matter of practice, you may wish to instruct the agent to either proceed or proceed on the basis that a proportion of the costs will be met by you.

All of this comes down to negotiation, both between you and the agent and between the agent and the proposed purchaser.

You can ask the agent for a goodwill payment but, at the end of the day, if the purchaser would not have proceeded without the incentive, you have suffered no loss.

Happy to discuss further.

Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
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