How to make an offer on a property?
How to make an offer
The information given on this page applies only to properties in England and Wales and not to properties in Scotland, where the law is different.
Once you’ve found a property that you’re sure is right for you, then it could be time to make an offer.
This can be a really exciting part of the home-buying process, but also a little unnerving. So, it’s important not to rush in and be prepared for what you want to say. Here are some tips on how to make an offer on a property.
- Play it cool
- Get the price right
- How much to offer
- Putting in your offer
- What happens next?
You should put the groundwork in long before you actually come to making an offer. It all starts when you first speak to an estate agent, at which point you should downplay the amount you are willing to spend.
Similarly, if you view a property that you love, then be careful to play it cool – at least when you are around the estate agent! Instead, concentrate on asking the right questions to ensure the property is as great as it seems and you know what you’re getting for your money.
Careful budgeting will enable you to work out an upper limit that you’d be comfortable paying for your new home.
Consider how much you can afford to spend. To help, use our mortgage calculator, which is available on our First Home Steps app.
As well as the price of the property itself, consider other outgoings such as council tax and utility bills.
Of course, money isn’t everything. Before putting in an offer, have one last serious think about whether the property - including its location - is right for you.
How much should you offer? You don’t want to pay over the odds. Try and find out how much similar properties are selling for in the same area. If they’re going below the asking price, then you could try offering less than the asking price.
However, it’s a delicate balance. If you put in an offer that’s too low, then another buyer could have their offer accepted instead. If you're competing against lots of other buyers, then you might need to offer the asking price. It can help to ask the estate agent how many other offers the property has received.
To make your offer, call the estate agent and tell them how much you want to spend. Then follow it up by putting your offer in an email, which you can instruct the agent to forward to the seller.
However much you decide to offer, be confident and don’t apologise if it’s below the asking price. Always make it clear that your offer is subject to a survey and contract.
You do however want to make yourself an appealing buyer, especially if you’re making an offer below the asking price. You can do that by emphasising that you are a first time buyer, so you don’t have a property chain. You could also offer to be flexible on your moving-in date. And ensure you have a Mortgage in Principle ready - this is an estimate of how much you can borrow from a mortgage lender
It can be a long and drawn out process, but once your offer is accepted and the house is off the market, then you’re on your way to becoming a homeowner at last.
- If the seller is interested in your offer then you’re likely to enter into negotiations, which are conducted via the estate agent. This is where having a top price in mind is essential, so you don’t get carried away.
- If your offer is accepted, then ask the estate agent to take the property off the market. They should agree to cease viewings, so you’re less likely to get ‘gazumped’, which is when a seller accepts a higher offer from someone else.
Know the lingo
When weighing up making an offer, you’ll need to understand some key jargon.
For starters, there is a ‘guide price’, which is the approximate amount the owner hopes to achieve. You also might see ORIO (offers in region of) which can mean the seller is willing to consider a slightly lower offer; or OIEO (offers in excess of), which means they want you to offer a price higher than the one being advertised.
Click on the sections below to explore what you need to know at each stage of your home buying journey: