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How to make an offer on a house

So you’ve decided to buy a house and have found one that you like. What are the next steps? Making an offer on a house for the first time can be daunting. It’s worth knowing what you can afford, what the local market is like and as much about the property and area as possible. Negotiating a price is normal but you don’t want to start too low as you may risk losing out if someone else steps in with a better offer.

Firstly, you need to know how much lenders will let you borrow. Ideally you would do this before finding your house, and ideally you would have an offer agreed in principle with a lender. You’ll need to speak to a mortgage advisor who can let you know how much you can borrow. Our recommended mortgage advisor is Neil Hallas and you can contact him on 07590 535001.

Calculating a Suitable Offer
It is important to see the prices of other similar properties in the area. Be sure to compare as many properties close to the one you are looking to purchase as possible. Compare the statistics, including room dimensions, number of rooms, garden size and any features with other houses in the area.

Here at Fraser St James, we have won awards and are recognised for our accurate valuations, but in many cases, when looking for houses and flats elsewhere, you may find that the valuation is too high.

It is worth offering below the asking price if a similar local property sold recently for a lower price, you feel you need to repair the property before you are happy with it, the seller is motivated to complete the deal as soon as possible or the property has been on the market for some time. You do risk insulting or annoying the seller if you go in too low, so take this into account when bidding. Is the saving worth the risk of not being able to buy the house at all?

If the property ticks all of your boxes and you want to move in quickly, it may be worth offering the asking price (or perhaps more if others are also bidding).

Making An Offer
Once you’ve decided on the amount, you will need to make the offer to the agent, either over the phone or in person. It’s also a good idea to put the offer in writing. Make it clear that the amount you are offering is dependent on the survey, so there is still room to move should the results come back with multiple issues. Also state that it’s subject to the property being taken off the market, so nobody will outbid you at a later date.

Once the offer has been sent to the seller, they may accept it or reject it. In the case of rejection you can either walk away or negotiate the price further.

Related: What is the process after making an offer on a property?.