When you have found the house you would like to buy, the next step is to make an offer.
If it’s your first time making an offer on a property or you’re unsure how the process works, we have shared how to make an offer and some tips to give you a good chance of having your offer accepted.
Know your budget and be organised
It is important to know how much you can afford and have the evidence to prove it. An Agreement in Principle is a certificate from a lender to say that they agree to lend you a certain amount of money. A mortgage adviser can help find a suitable mortgage Agreement in Principle for you. This will give you sufficient evidence and you will be ready to make an offer on a property when you find one you want to buy.
Do your research
A little bit of research to check if the property is right for you can help you to decide the offer you make. It could be helpful to understand the local property market and compare the property to what similar homes were purchased for to avoid overpaying. Think about if the property is valuable to you and how it would affect your living costs.
Contact the estate agent
An estate agent is required to be transparent and answer any questions you have about the property and what the seller wants. They can also let you know if there are other people who are interested in buying the property.
To make an offer you will most likely have to do this through the estate agent who will communicate between you and the seller.
Negotiating the price
The asking price is set by the seller but it is not necessarily what the property is worth or what the estate agent recommends. It is a figure that the owner would ideally like to get for the property. A buyer can make an offer higher or lower than the asking price if they wish, depending on their circumstances.
Offering over the asking price
In competitive markets, a buyer might consider making an offer above the asking price. If there are multiple buyers, making a higher offer could set you apart from the others. Remember to make sure you do not offer more than what you can afford.
Offering under the asking price
There are some circumstances where you may consider making an offer below the asking price. These could include:
- The property value is less than the asking price or a similar property in the local area was sold at a lower price and the property market has not changed.
- Chain free or cash buyers could be more attractive to a seller as there is less chance the transaction will fall through due to a chain, and it could speed up the process with less complications.
- The property needs repairs or improvements.
- The seller wants to complete the sale of the property quickly.
- No offers have been made recently on a property that has been on the market for a while.
After offer is accepted
Once your offer has been accepted the on the property, check that the estate agent has taken the property off the market and is no longer taking viewings. If another buyer views the property, there is a risk that they could make a higher offer, this is known as ‘gazumping’.
You should then make sure you receive an offer confirmation from the estate agent. The agreement is then subject to survey or contract. This allows the seller or buyer to withdraw from the property sale. An offer is not legally binding in England and Wales until you have exchanged contracts. You will need to arrange a property survey and start the conveyancing process before the sale is completed.
A mortgage adviser will be able to help guide you through the entire process from before you make an offer to when you complete and beyond.