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Your Step-By-Step Guide To Making An Offer And Having It Accepted

Looking for your next home can be an exciting time, especially when you’ve found your dream property. But how do you go about securing the sale? Putting in an offer is a big step and before you ring the estate agent with the good news, there are several things you should do to maximise your chances of your offer being accepted.

At Cosey Homes, we have many years’ experience of residential property surveying, with plenty of expert advice available to help you navigate your home buying journey. We’ve put together this step-by-step guide to take the mystery and risk out of making an offer on a property.

1 – Research, research, research

To make a confident offer, you need to have an understanding of the local market. Look around at similar properties in the neighbourhood and compare prices (including sold prices). Take account of any obvious defects or repairs that you spotted when you viewed the property, and adjust your offer accordingly.

Next, get an insight into the seller’s position. The estate agent should be able to help with essential information such as the length of time the property has been on the market, the level of interest in the property (how many viewings?), the reason for the sale (upsizing or downsizing? relocation? divorce?) and whether the seller has found somewhere to go. Is there a chain? A mortgage? What about anticipated timescales? Collate what information you can to create a useful context in which to place a sensible offer.

2 – Budgeting and finance

Next, it’s number-crunching time. Work out how much you can afford to spend and decide what you are prepared to offer for the property. Assuming you need a mortgage, you should already have consulted a mortgage adviser, applied for finance and obtained a mortgage agreement in principle from the lender. That way, you have the certainty of knowing that the necessary finances are in place and a good idea of your ballpark budget.

Don’t forget to budget for the deposit on the property, and of course the various costs of purchase. Legal and other transaction fees, property surveys, removal costs… it can soon mount up. However, don’t be tempted to give the survey a miss in an effort to cut costs, that would be a false economy! Getting a HomeBuyer Survey (Level 2) or Building Survey (Level 3) when buying a property is essential to ensure you don’t end up paying out thousands on ‘surprise’ repairs once you take ownership.

3 – Getting your documentation ready

In order to make the best impression on the seller and their estate agent, it’s good if you can show that you are organised and serious about proceeding with the purchase. This means having documents readily available to show

Proof of funds – such as a bank statement or your lender’s mortgage confirmation. The estate agent may ask you to confirm proof of funds, and your solicitor certainly will. To comply with anti-money laundering legislation, you may also be asked to reveal the source of your funds (mortgage, savings, gift, inheritance, sale of property etc) to prove that the money came into your possession lawfully.

Proof of ID – It is a legal requirement for estate agents and solicitors to carry out due diligence checks to prove your ID. You will be asked to provide some personal details and official ID documents such as a passport or driving licence.

It is also a good idea to have a conveyancing solicitor on standby so that you can issue instructions as soon as your offer has been accepted.

4 – The best bidding strategy

Broadly speaking, there are two ways you can approach making an offer. One way would be to confidently go in with a best (and final) offer that they can take or leave, and avoid getting into drawn-out negotiations. Alternatively, start with a lower offer to try and get a bit of a discount while giving yourself some room for manoeuvre in case your first offer is rejected. Either way, don’t offer more than the property is worth or than you can afford to pay.

It can also help to personalise your offer by outlining what makes you a good buyer. If you’re a first-time buyer, a cash buyer with no mortgage, have pre-arranged finance in place or nothing to sell, make sure you tell the estate agent of your favourable situation.

5 – Putting in an offer

Finally, you’re ready to contact the estate agent and present your best case. A face-to-face chat or phone call will suffice in the first instance, but it’s always a good idea to follow up in writing, so there’s a record of what was said.

By law, the agent has to pass every offer they receive to the seller for consideration, and it may be hours or longer before you get an answer. If the answer is yes, congratulations – you’re one step closer to owning your dream home. If it’s a no, it may be worth finding out if any other offers have been put forward and if they are higher than yours. This will then inform your decision to go back with a higher offer or not, as the case may be.

6 – Offer accepted – what next?

Once you have an offer accepted, send a confirmation email to the estate agent and make clear that your offer is

The estate agent will finalise the agreement in a Memorandum of Sale, which is passed to both sides’ solicitors so that the conveyancing process can begin. You can now breathe a sigh of relief and crack open the champagne before you prepare for the next step in the journey towards your new home.