Making an offer on a new home

We run through some basic tips to help you get prepared

House-hunting, especially if you’re a first-time buyer, can be very exciting. And, once you’ve found that perfect property, you’ll want to put in an offer to secure it as yours as soon as possible.  

So… what are the best tactics to ensure you get your perfect new home at the best possible price? 
 

Be organised before making an offer 

Whether you look at just a few properties or many before you find your ideal home, it’s wise to get all of your ducks in a row before you make that offer. Being prepared by having secured a mortgage in principle agreement, your solicitors chosen, and your finances in check means that there’ll be nothing to scupper your plans on your side, should your offer be accepted. Apart from anything else, you can then convey that you’re able to move at speed – something which may be an attractive bargaining chip when trying to get your seller to drop the selling price. 

Another great tip is to just keep a close eye on the general property market – being particularly aware of how much similar homes in the area you’re looking in are being sold for. Sometimes if the market is moving quite slowly, this can put you in a stronger position when making your initial offer.  
 

 

Put on your best poker face

When you’re first liaising with estate agents about available properties, try to downplay how much your budget is, as they will likely show you slightly more expensive listings in any case, meaning that you could be in a stronger position when it comes to negotiating! 

Once you start viewing places to buy, try to keep a tight reign on expressing what you think. If you come across somewhere perfect for you, play it cool, and try not to give away the fact that you love it to the estate agent!  

If you show your keenness, the agent (and so the seller) will know that you might be prepared to pay a higher price for the property in order to clinch it. 
 

Do your homework

It’s a good idea to ask questions about why the property is being listed in the first place – a death in the family, divorce, the need to downsize, or a move to the coast? If your seller is desperate to move, they will probably be more open to reducing the price to get themselves a quick sale.   

You should also be looking at other aspects when you’re collecting facts on your chosen property, such as how long the property has been listed for. And, has it already been reduced in price, perhaps more than once? 
 

Make your move, but carefully

Don’t insult your buyer by putting in a super low offer. It can result in you getting off on the wrong foot with the seller.   
Property industry pundits generally recommend that you stick to an offer which is around 5% to 10% lower than the asking price, but no more.  

If you spot faults or disrepair in the property, don’t use it too heavily as leverage for a lower offer; sellers can get upset and take it personally. 
 

 

Treat it like a business transaction

Because it’s such an exciting and intense time, you may feel a bit caught up in it all, but at the point of making an offer it’s really important to keep your feet on the ground. For example, when making your offer, try to get an agreement from the seller on what’s included (fixtures, fittings, white goods, etc) so that this aspect is sorted out upfront – preventing any cause for disagreement later down the line. 

You should also make sure that any offer you make is stated in writing rather than verbally (over the phone or face to face with the agent). This is because you want to show that you’re serious, and it then also becomes an indisputable ‘record’ of both the offer amount plus any conditions or terms you want agreed as part of the sale.