Q. The estate agent I am buying through wants to see proof of my financial position, but I don’t want to disclose that until my offer is accepted. Do I need to give this information in advance?
A. The agent you are dealing with is absolutely right in asking to see proof of your financial position. The relevant section of The Property Ombudsman’s Code of Conduct states that the agent must take all reasonable steps to establish the source and availability of a prospective buyer’s funds - and pass this information to the seller - so if he didn’t, he would actually be in breach of the Code and if the sale subsequently fell through over money matters, his client would have legitimate grounds for complaint.
You are under no obligation to disclose this information if you don’t want to. However, the agent would then have no choice but to tell his client that as a result of your unwillingness to co-operate, your financial position couldn’t be confirmed. Ultimately, it is the seller’s decision whether or not to accept any offers but the agent would be doing less than his duty if he didn’t recommend an appropriate course of action. If the seller wanted to accept your offer, the agent might well suggest for example, that he continues to actively market the property until appropriate reassurance was established.
Of course, your reluctance to reveal such details at such an early stage of negotiations is perfectly understandable. However, the sale is unlikely to go anywhere until you do – except on the kind of conditional basis above.