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How to Make an Offer on a House Like a Pro

Once you’ve found a home you love, it’s time to make an offer and convince the seller to sell to you. Here’s how to make an offer on a property and get it accepted. Hint: It’s not all about money.

Faye deGavre

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Apr 06, 2021

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6 min read

How to Make an Offer on a House Like a Pro

Dreamily scanning through page after page of homes online is great. But what about when you finally find a property you really want to buy? After a couple of viewings to check it (and the area) out – and you’re financially prepared to buy a home – then you’re ready to make an offer. And get it accepted.

When it comes to the art of negotiating, every party has their own best interests at heart. You (the buyer) want to get your best offer accepted, while the seller hopes to get the highest price possible. For a successful sale, there needs to be balance. For helpful advice on how to make an offer on a house or flat, read on.

What to do before making an offer on a house?

Once you’ve worked out what you can afford and have found a home that suits your needs (and goals), you may want to put in an offer. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t a simple case of knocking a certain percentage off the asking price and hoping for the best. 

The more knowledge and preparation the better. Here’s what to know before making an offer on a house.

1. Get your documents together


Believe it or not, price alone may not secure the property. The seller wants to make sure they are entering into a smooth transaction. If you’re buying with a mortgage, ensure you have a mortgage in principle and have enough cash for a deposit. If you’re a first-time buyer or otherwise chain-free, let them know as this works in your favour.

2. Research similar properties in the area


Compare apples with apples, as much as you can, to understand whether your prospective new home is fairly priced. Look at similar properties in the area – are they in the same ballpark figure as the house you want to make an offer on? Evaluate recently sold properties and those currently listed to help you decide what price to bid. 

3. Talk to the Estate Agent


Many home buyers overlook this step because they believe that the agent will be on the side of the seller. While this is technically true, there is still a wealth of information you can find out about the seller and property to aid your bidding decision. Ask the agent about the seller’s situation. If they want to move quickly or the property has been sitting on the market for some time, they might be willing to accept a lower offer. 

4. Book a second viewing


A good rule of thumb is to view the property again, but this time, leave emotion at the door. Look for any hard faults that may deter you from purchasing or that can justify a lower price. If your offer gets accepted, you can bring up these issues around the time of the survey.

5. Work out your bidding strategy


When it comes to negotiating house price, you have a few different options. You can choose to make your first offer your best offer. This will show you’re a serious buyer who wants to save time on negotiations. Another way is to start with a lower offer, while giving yourself some wiggle room to bid higher if it’s rejected. Make sure this is a realistic offer as lowballing it could end up offending the seller. 

While many offers start below the asking price, there are some instances when you should aim higher. If you’re house hunting in a competitive market with many interested buyers – and if you really love the house – an offer above the asking price may be warranted. This is more of an emotional decision rather than a financial one – so bear your budget in mind.

The initial offer you propose comes down to you and your confidence as a negotiator. However, we recommend that your first one is serious and in the range of what you’re willing to pay.

6. Be aware of gazumping


What is gazumping? It’s when an offer has been accepted, but then the seller decides to accept a higher offer from a different buyer. Although it’s perfectly legal, it is less than perfect for the first bidder as they then have to decide whether to offer more or accept that they’ve lost the property. 

And how to avoid being gazumped? In short, there’s no sure way to maintain the sale. The best practice is to ask the seller to take the property off the market once they accept your offer, exchange contracts quickly (we know that’s easier said than done) and to maintain a good relationship with the seller so they’re less inclined to welcome a gazumper with open arms. 

How to make an offer on a house?

You’ve done the groundwork and found the right home – the next step is to put in an offer. You can do this by contacting the Estate Agent, whether by phone, email or in person. Either way, it’s a good idea to put your offer in writing to ensure it’s recorded accurately. 

If it’s accepted, you’ll be notified. Don’t be too worried if you receive a counteroffer – this is typically part and parcel of the negotiation process. You can then decide whether to increase your offer or walk away. If your offer is accepted, the agent usually lets you know right away.

What happens after you make an offer on a house?


If the seller accepts your offer, you can move onto the conveyancing process – and enjoy being one step closer to becoming the new owner of the property.

  • Can I change my offer on a house once it’s been accepted?

Legally, yes, although it’s usually not well received if you lower an offer – unless there’s a good reason to do so. However, a survey showing major issues can justify this move.

  • Can I withdraw my offer on a house?

Until the ink is dry and contracts have been exchanged, no sale is legally binding. Ideally, this isn’t something you’d do without good reason.

Find your next home for sale

Few feelings compare to when you’ve found the right property for sale and made an offer – and had the offer accepted. Have you started your house hunt yet? At Boomin, our nifty tools help to refine your search so you can find properties that tick all your boxes. See something you like? Book viewings 24/7 and receive instant confirmation. Start your search today.

Faye deGavre

Content Writer