Making an offer - First time buyer

How to make an offer on a house

4 min read

Found your dream home and want to make an offer? Read our article for top tips on everything from price negotiations to what to do if your offer’s rejected.

  • Arti Dhamu, Move Specialist at My Home Move Conveyancing
    Arti Dhamu

    Move Specialist

    Published January 1st 2024

young couple on their sofa deciding whether to make an offer on a house

How to put an offer on a house

How do you decide what to offer on a house? Find out how to show you’re a reliable buyer and increase your chances of getting your dream home.

Before making an offer on a house you should:

  • Do your research. Better understand the local market by checking the price of similar properties listed in the area.

  • Talk to the estate agent, or even the owner. Find out as much information as you can about the house’s history, such as how long it’s been on the market, how many viewings or offers it’s had, and to get the lowdown on the local area.

  • Decide how much you’d be comfortable paying. After working out your budget and how much you can afford to pay, decide how much you’d be willing to pay for this particular place. Does it need work doing or is it a turnkey property? Is it in your ideal location or a little further away than you’d hoped? Work out how much it’s worth to you.

  • Gather key documents. Show you’re a reliable, organised buyer by having all your documents ready to go, such as your mortgage agreement in principle, and proof of deposit.

  • Find a conveyancer. A conveyancer will guide you through the legal side of buying a home, ensuring the process runs smoothly. They’ll complete your transaction from beginning to end.

Making an offer on a house

  • Inform the estate agent. Make your offer to your estate agent over the phone or in person.

  • Email your offer. Follow up, submitting your offer in writing and check your estate agent has forwarded it to the seller, as it’s their legal obligation to do so. 

  • Emphasise the factors that make you an attractive buyer. If you’re a first-time buyer, cash purchaser, chain free, or already have an offer on your own property, you could be in a better position than other potential candidates.

  • If you’re flexible, let them know. Take advantage of factors that could help you seal the deal, such as moving date flexibility, and show an eagerness to complete the process as soon as possible. That tends to be music to any seller’s ears.

  • Follow up on your agreement. Offer accepted on a house? Congrats! Just check in to confirm the listing is removed and there are no further viewings.

Once your offer has been accepted, start working on your moving house checklist

Our recent survey of 2,000 UK homeowners found that 49% believe it’s possible to find love within seconds when it comes to property. However, 46% of those surveyed hadn’t been able to complete on their dream home.

“It’s tough when things don’t pan out, be it in love or in real estate” says Alistair Singer, E-commerce Director at My Home Move Conveyancing. “There are ways to avoid disappointment, at least when it comes to securing your dream home. Our advice if you ‘know’ immediately about a property is to move quickly. The next viewer may be even more enamoured and make an offer before you get the chance – so it’s important to take the leap to get your happily ever after.”

“Our advice if you ‘know’ immediately about a property is to move quickly”

What happens if I make an offer on a house before selling mine?

Buying and selling a house at the same time can be a complicated process. The good news is that even if your property is on the market, you can still make an offer on a house. However, you need to keep in mind that you’re probably not the ‘ideal’ candidate. Sellers tend to prefer chain-free buyers.

This could mean that, even if you make a strong offer, the seller may continue promoting their property until you’re able to move to the next step of the process. Their goal is to make a deal as soon as possible, so they might even accept a lower offer from a first-time or cash buyer.

Find out more on how to buy and sell a house at the same time.

How to negotiate the house price

Negotiating the price can feel like a bit of a balancing act. You want to avoid paying too much for a house but might be afraid of losing your dream home with a lower offer. Consider the following:

  • Start low. Check if the property has been on the market for a long time, or if the owner needs to make a quick sale, and offer 5%-10% below the asking price. Sellers are aware of this tactic, so they usually put their house on sale for a higher price, perhaps expecting to accept slightly less.

  • Get a property survey to back up your decision to offer a lower price and use it to negotiate in case there are problems with the house.

  • Build relationships with agents, as they can inform you of any higher bids and let you make a counteroffer. Keep in mind, it’s not always a good idea to reveal your maximum budget or give the impression you’re willing to pay more.

What to do if my offer is rejected?​

You can either increase your offer or move on with your house hunting, depending on your budget. If you decide to make another offer, you need show the seller you’re still interested in their property and attempt to renegotiate, following the same process as before. You can also reach out to your agent about why your initial proposition was rejected – for example there might have been an issue with your proposed timeframe.

Can I withdraw an offer on a house?

You’re not legally obliged to progress with your offer until you’ve signed and exchanged contracts This means you can withdraw or change your offer if you’re unhappy with the results of the property survey, for example. You could also ask the seller to make repairs or offer them a lower price, but they can also refuse to proceed.

First-time buyer? Read our first-time buyers guide for lots more useful tips or check out the detailed steps when buying a house.

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