Can I put an offer on a property without having the exact amount?

Our lawyer, Fiona McNulty advises on whether it is possible to exchange contracts on a property - where the deposit is being paid by an inheritance cheque - before the money has come through
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© Merrily Harpur (harpur.org)
Question: I have been left money by my uncle under the terms of his will and I intend to buy a property with the money when I receive it. I know it’s early but I have found my dream property. There is a lot of interest in this property and I have to exchange contracts quickly if I am to get it.

My problem is that probate has not yet been granted regarding my uncle’s estate and I only have a five per cent deposit of my own money. Any ideas?

Answer: If the solicitors acting in connection with the administration of your uncle’s estate confirm your position to your bank, you may be able to persuade your bank to lend you the other five per cent. Speak to the solicitors and your bank.

Alternatively, you may be able to negotiate paying only a five per cent deposit to the seller.

If you manage to solve the deposit situation, you must make sure that you will have the money by the time completion of the purchase is due to take place, because once contracts are exchanged you will not be able to legally recover any deposit paid by you unless the seller fails to complete the transaction.

Also, if the seller does allow you to pay a deposit of only five per cent, they will still have the right to sue you for the full deposit of 10 per cent if you do not proceed with the purchase following exchange of contracts. You may also be sued for any other losses incurred.

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