How to make an offer on a property

How to Make an Offer on a Property
 
Whether you are dealing with an estate agent, a developer, or the vendor directly; making the right offer on a property can save you thousands of pounds. It is crucial, therefore, to be prepared and execute your offer in the right way.
 
I have prepared this guide based on my own experience working in the industry for the last 15 years.
 

Estate Agents

As a buyer, the estate agent will do anything that they can to squeeze all of your money from you. After all, they work for the vendor (seller). Do not give them any indication of how much you can borrow or how much deposit you have.

We often say to our clients that if estate agents require confirmation of an agreement in principle, we can simply email them to confirm that there is an agreement in principle in place.

Estate agents that require you to speak to their mortgage advisor or demand to see your personal financial documents might not be acting within the regulations. It is also morally questionable as they are actually trying to lead you into carrying out a business transaction with them to obtain the property.

💡 Read more on how to avoid the estate agent traps.
 

Developers

In my experience in dealing with developers, they operate a very hard sell and often hold out for very high offers. When you want to buy a New Build property, you need to do your research and compare the New Build property prices and floorplans with the floorplans of older properties for sale within a 0.5-mile radius. Otherwise, you could find yourself paying over the odds. Developers will also have very tight deadlines in place which can be quite stressful. Ultimately though, when buying a New Build you will rarely have to worry about the seller withdrawing from the sale and you can often choose how you want your property to be finished.
 

Vendors (owners selling directly)

The method of selling your own property online has become a lot more popular in recent years. We often find ourselves helping our buyers out when dealing with vendors directly. When dealing with a vendor directly, the important thing is to let them know always what a lovely property they have. Never point out any small issues such as decor, taste or style.
 
Always ask a lot of questions, you will find that many owners will often be more informative than estate agents. After all, they have lived in the property and the estate agent will most likely just have one sheet of A4 paper with some bullet points. We have always found that if you can connect with the seller and they like and trust in your story, that they would be more likely to listen to any offer you make.
 

Making an Offer

1. Start by researching the market. Tips & Tricks:

What has sold recently, what is still on the market? Have you noticed any price reductions on the property? If you use the web browser Chrome, there is a decent extension allows you to track property price changes when carrying out property searches on Rightmove. It’s called Property Tracker and it appears under the price (as an arrow) on the Rightmove property details page.
 
Rightmove Price Tracker

The image above shows that this property has been reduced in price since it first came onto the market (using Property Tracker), suggesting that a lower offer could be made.

 
However, if you know that an area is very popular and that properties go quickly (as soon as they come onto the market), there may be little success in making a lower offer. In fact, it might be the case that prices have increased. This is where your research counts.
 
Use both Rightmove and Zoopla to compare properties in the same street by including sold properties in your search results.
 
Zoopla Include Sold Properties

Include properties that are under offer or sold STC within a 0.5-mile radius (1-mile radius outside of London) when carrying out your research before making an offer.

 

2. Prepare, then deliver your budget & pitch

Even if you can offer the asking price, prepare detailed reasons as to why you are making an offer. If there is any work that you feel you need to carry out, don’t be afraid to mention this to the agent. General decoration is usually not a good excuse unless a full property refurb is needed.

Be strong and positive with the responses even when highlighting negatives. “We love the area and the property style, we do feel that we would need to spend around £10,000 on a new bathroom and kitchen, so on that basis, our maximum offer is x”. Always be prepared for the agent to come back and ask you for an increase again. So if you actually wanted a £5,000 reduction, by starting with £10,000 you leave yourself in a better position.
 

What Happens Next?

Next, if your offer is accepted the estate agent should issue a Memorandum of Sale.
 
➡️ Offer accepted on a Property – What happens next?
 

Author: Ben, Glow Mortgage Advisor (CeMAP, BSc Hons)

Last Updated: 02/01/2019.