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How to Make an Offer and Negotiate for a House

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Of all the different stages of buying a house, two stand out as the most difficult. They are making the offer and negotiating to get the best deal. Many go through multiple house viewings and finally find a property they like. However, it usually comes at a cost. The major obstacle? Getting the price right. In this article we’ll cover how to make an offer and negotiate for a house to ensure you can succeed in purchasing your dream home. 

Let’s get started.

Preparation

Getting yourself prepared is incredibly important. You need to be sure that you have a budget in mind and, more importantly, are aware of the value of the property. The last thing you want to do is make an offer that is out of your budget, and even worse, the property isn’t worth the offer you make. Rest assured, there are a few things you can do to prevent yourself from being in this situation. 

Researching local house prices

Before you make an offer, the first thing you want to do is work out how much similar properties are being sold for. This will help you to come up with an offer that is competitive and takes into account the true value of the property. The best way to do this is to research the local area where the property is located. There are two things in particular that you need to identify and then compare with your chosen property. They are the location and the condition of each property. If you can find something that is similar and that has been sold recently, you’ll be able to identify a benchmark to determine a fair offer. 

Gather your documents

Before you make an offer, ensure that you have your documents in order. This includes things like proof of funds and mortgage in principle, amongst any other relevant financial documents. Estate agents usually ask for proof of funds, which can sometimes require showing your previous bank statements. This is all to prevent money laundering. So whether you’re a cash house buyer or using a mortgage, this is likely to come up during the process. Being prepared with these documents not only speeds up the process but also demonstrates to the seller that you are a serious and prepared buyer. Many sellers face delays caused by potential buyers not having the right documents, so if you can show you have all your paperwork in order, your offer is likely to be taken more seriously. 

Getting the offer/How to make the offer

Once you have the property and the funds in place, you’re ready to make the offer. You have a few options on how you go about making the offer.

Figuring out how much you should offer

Here, it’s all about finding the balance between a competitive offer and not overpaying. 

Make your first offer your best offer

When the property market is competitive, you need to make a strong initial offer that is taken seriously. If you go in too low, other buyers may look to up the ante, resulting in a drawn-out bidding war.

Start with a lower offer

On the other hand, attempting a lower offer to test the waters can also be a strategic move. However, with this route, you don’t want to offend the seller with an unrealistically low bid. At the same time, this won’t work as well if there are other buyers who are also interested. The best way to gauge if this is the right move is to check how long the property has been on the market. If it has been on the market longer than three months, you can find out what’s causing other buyers to stay away. This will allow you to make a more informed offer. 

What if I can’t afford to make a high bid?

Many may find themselves in a situation where they’ve found the perfect house, but the value of the property is already at the higher end of their budget. They simply can’t make a higher bid, and the offer they make is likely to be considered a low bid. Well, no need to despair. In fact, in some cases, a low bid might be perfectly fine. Here are some scenarios that may work well in your favour:

  • Estate agents legally have to present every offer made. So, no matter your offer value, the seller will be informed. This relies on the estate agent. Often, if the property isn’t exclusive, then there may be multiple estate agents vying for their commission. Additionally, some estate agents may just want a quick sale, too. So this can also work in your favour. 
  • If the seller is looking for a quick sale for reasons like moving to a new home or relocating. They may not be prepared to wait it out for the highest bids and are just looking to recoup a fair value for their property. It may not always be the case, but it can happen. 
  • If you’re not in a property chain as a first-time buyer, that may automatically make you a more attractive buyer than others. This is because there would be reduced delays by going with your offer. Again, if the seller is looking for a quick sale, this would be the obvious choice for them.
  • Check if the house has been listed for a while. This usually indicates that the seller is having issues selling, and the price may be too high. If the asking price has already dropped since it was listed, then this usually indicates the seller is struggling to find buyers. 

Tips to make sure your house offer is accepted

Making an offer and getting it accepted are two very different things. Here’s how you can ensure that your offer can be accepted:

Stress your position

When you make an offer on a house, you need to clearly communicate your position as a buyer. This means being upfront about your financial readiness and demonstrating your commitment to the purchase. Additionally, if you’re a first-time buyer without a chain, say so. Sellers like that because it means you’re ready to move quickly. You can also use evidence of your funds through documents to assure the seller that you are serious about the property. This will instil confidence in the seller and make your offer more appealing. At the same time, ensure that the seller is aware that you may look at other properties so they know time is a factor. 

Build relationships

A positive relationship with the seller can significantly influence the outcome of your offer. During viewings or negotiations, be courteous and respectful. A friendly demeanour can create a positive impression, making the seller more inclined to consider your offer. At the same time, they also look to build relationships with the estate agent responsible for the property. Don’t rely on phone calls alone; remember they are people too. Not only can you benefit from the estate agent’s advice and support, but they can point out what offer is more likely to be accepted. This will take away some of the guesswork that goes into devising an offer. 

Act quickly

Once you find a house that meets your criteria, don’t delay in submitting your offer. Sellers often appreciate promptness, and a quick response can signal your serious intent. Often, the biggest concern a seller has is concluding a sale as quickly and smoothly as possible. If they feel the buyer isn’t sure and has just made an offer for the sake of it, they may not take the offer seriously. If possible, have all necessary documentation prepared in advance to streamline the process. Acting quickly not only demonstrates your enthusiasm but also reduces the risk of losing the property to another buyer.

Put a price on it

Determining the right price for your offer is the most important aspect of the home-buying process. Research the local market to understand the property’s value and assess recent property sales in the local area. Starting with a competitive yet reasonable offer to show that you are serious but also respect the property’s market value. Be prepared to negotiate, but ensure your initial offer is strong enough to capture the seller’s attention.

Protect your purchase once accepted

Once an offer is accepted, ensure you continue communicating with all stakeholders involved. The property listing should also be taken off the market as soon as an offer is accepted. This will avoid any last-minute surprise offers from other buyers that may cause the seller to look elsewhere. 

What happens after the offer is accepted?

Once an offer is accepted, the work doesn’t stop there. You should expect to work closely with your solicitor and stay on top of the conveyancing process. Be diligent in completing any required surveys or inspections promptly. At the same time, ensure things on your end are taken care of, such as your finances and required documents. Make sure you also keep communication lines open with the seller to address any concerns or queries. This will help to ensure the purchase can be completed on time and as efficiently as possible.

FAQs

What Do I Need Before I Make an Offer on a House?

Before making an offer, ensure you have your financial documents ready, understand your budget, and have researched the local market. This will ensure that the offer you make is well thought out. 

How to Make an Offer on a House?

Make a clear, concise offer based on your market research, financial capacity, and the property’s value. Be prepared to negotiate and respond to counter-offers. The offer is usually given to the estate agent responsible for the property listing. 

Do I Need a Solicitor When Making an Offer on a House?

While a solicitor is not needed to make an offer, they will be required to deal with the legal aspects that take place later in the purchasing process.

How Much Should I Offer on a House?

Your offer should be based on the property’s market value, your budget, and how much you value the property. Consider starting lower to leave room for negotiation. But make sure that your offer is competitive enough to be taken seriously. 

How Can You Convince a Seller to Accept an Offer?

Your offer doesn’t have to be the highest bid to convince a seller. There are other issues that can still cause delays in the selling process. One of the biggest factors that is likely to convince a seller is if you’re chain-free. At the same time, making a realistic, competitive offer is likely to keep the seller engaged. 

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