Background to Making an Offer
When you find your dream home it will usually have an established asking price. You have to make an offer.
Your offer doesn’t have to be for the asking price.
Depending on the circumstances, consider what you can afford and work out your offer price as follows:
- What’s the lowest amount you want to “try on”?
- What’s the median price you’d be happy with?
- What’s the most you can afford and would be prepared to pay?
- What was the property valued at?
When deciding your offer price you’ll need to consider what can you afford and that there will be other costs involved eg solicitors fees, insurance etc. (For further details, see the other costs involved in buying your home.)
Telling the Estate Agent the price you’re prepared to pay is known as “making the offer“. This can be the start of a lengthy negotiation.
Your offer may actually be at a slightly higher price than the seller’s asking for – especially if the property’s hot and you think other people may beat you to it. If property prices are going up, don’t offer less than the asking price.
If not, make a reasonable offer but be prepared to raise it.
Make your offer “Subject to contract and without prejudice”
Your offer would usually be made with a phone call and would not be legally binding. However if you’re asked to put it in writing make sure you put
“SUBJECT TO CONTRACT AND WITHOUT PREJUDICE” at the top of any letters.
Otherwise what you write is technically legally binding and you could end up in a pickle if the sellers hold you to it i.e. you’d have to buy the house even if you didn’t want it anymore. Whoops.
The agent will be in the middle of the ensuing negotiation. Don’t forget that s/he acts for the seller and not you. They will be trying to get the highest price possible.
As the sale proceeds you may be able to get the seller’s phone number to discuss small matters. It may be an idea to try and negotiate during the final stages with the seller direct.