Making an offer on a house

21 June 2011

Making an offer on a house can be one of the most exciting things you can do in life, as you sit and wait to hear whether your offer will be accepted - and whether you are set to spend that much money! It can also be a time of tense negotiation, and you want to be prepared as possible if you wish to try and bring the price down to meet your budget.

What house offer shall I make?

With any property market, whether its buoyant or stagnant, you may be tempted to make a low offer to test the resolve of the seller. It's important that you remain fair if you plan to do this though, as dramatically reducing an offer without good reason may see you lose the property altogether. Try to put into perspective the reason why the seller is looking to get the house off their hands. If they need to sell sooner rather than later then you may be able to go in with a lower price that they end up taking.

What is the house worth?

Think about what the house is worth to you. Does it meet every one of your criteria or are you compromising on certain aspects? Consider how much it would cost to make any improvements and whether this is enough to affect the offer you make. Try to find out from the estate agent whether there have been many viewings or offers on the house, and see if they'll indicate whether it is near the asking price (the agent is not legally allowed to tell you the amount of any rival bid). Finally, don't rule out asking the full asking price. If you desperately want the property, then it may be worth meeting the seller's desired value.

Do I make the offer to the estate agent?

Once you have decided on your budget, and taken into account the seller's motivation, you'll be ready to make an offer. You can do so directly through the estate agent, either on the phone or at their office. If you are offering the full asking price then make sure that they take the house off the market straight away and that they have a timetable set out on when to complete. Your offer should be subject to a survey taking place and your mortgage coming through, so there is still time to amend the offer at a later point.

Do I offer below the asking price?

If you decide you want to offer less than the seller's asking price then make sure you can support this decision. To arm yourself with evidence you can look at comparable properties in the local area that have sold, and what price they achieved. You can also look at the number of improvements you would make should you move in, and the amount you need to take off the offer you make in order to afford these.

We know what it takes to make a successful offer on a house, and can provide useful hints and advice for your specific situation. Speak to one of our Move Planners about your offer and whether we can help you make the right one.


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