25% of homebuyers admit they tried to bribe sellers

A quarter of homebuyers polled in a new survey have confessed that they turned to backhanders to secure their dream homes.

Related topics:  Finance,  Property,  Sales
Property | Reporter
28th February 2024
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"As a seller, there’s certainly nothing wrong with building a rapport with potential buyers but it’s best to always maintain a degree of distance with them when it comes to the formalities of selling your home"
- Verona Frankish - Yopa

New research from Yopa has found that a quarter of homebuyers tried to bribe sellers with everything from cash to kindness when trying to secure the home of their dreams. But do such tactics actually work?

What lengths would you go to to secure the home of your dreams? Yopa surveyed 1,080 people who have bought a home in the past year to discover what extracurricular measures they took to make sure the vendor decided to sell to them instead of another buyer.

The survey reveals that just 3% of homebuyers admitted to the backhanded practice of gazumping over the last year - where they make a last-ditch effort to secure a home with a higher bid than the one already accepted by the seller.

Of course, it’s important to note that gazumping is a practice that is far more frequent in hotter market conditions and so, with the market having cooled in 2023, it’s no surprise that such a small number of buyers have resorted to it.

However, this reluctance to gazump does not mean buyers won’t go to great effort to try and ingratiate themselves with a seller to gain favour.

Making a good first impression when viewing

When it came to the initial viewing process, 34% of buyers said they made an effort to actively compliment the property throughout the viewing process; 22% said they arrived at the viewing early, and 14% said they were sure to dress smartly.

Meanwhile, 11% admit to feigning interest in the local area; 10% actively complimented the seller themself, and 9% feigned an interest in the seller’s life.

Keeping in contact

When asked whether they made an effort to maintain regular contact with the seller throughout the process, 51% said ‘yes’, and 30% went even further, delving for information on other potential buyers and their position in the market.

Homebuyer backhands

What’s more, 24% of buyers said that they provided some kind of incentive or bribe to put themselves in better favour ahead of other interested parties.

28% say they boasted about their potential to make a quick purchase due to being free of any chain, while 24% made it clear that they were a cash buyer, and even provided proof of funds.

20% took a more homely approach by offering baked goods to the seller, while 10% went one step further and offered the seller a professional service for free.

A further 10% said they offered the seller a cash backhander - a sweetener passed under the table rather than through the agent - while 4% proposed the offer of a free dinner and another 4% attempted to charm their seller.

While such endeavours may be morally questionable, the results seem to speak for themselves, as 89% of those who attempted to sweeten the deal said their efforts were successful and they were able to secure the purchase of the property.

CEO of Yopa, Verona Frankish, commented: “Incentivising sellers with bribes is nothing new and it’s certainly a grey area that flirts with the lines of legality, not to mention the fact it’s somewhat morally questionable.

"The irony is that, in hotter market conditions, the practice of gazumping is one that is not only rife, but completely above board and it happens year in and year out.

"As a seller, there’s certainly nothing wrong with building a rapport with potential buyers but it’s best to always maintain a degree of distance with them when it comes to the formalities of selling your home.

"After all, it’s your agent's job to field potential offers and relay them to you and not only does this provide you with some breathing space from overly pushy buyers, but your agent is far more likely to secure you the best offer while doing so. It’s their profession after all.”

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