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Buying a house: How to make an offer on a property

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Buying a house can be an exciting experience – you get to look around various properties and decide what qualities in a house are most important to you. Once you’ve found ‘the one’, that’s when the real hard work starts.

The very first thing you need to decide when buying a house you want is how much to pay.

Understanding house prices

If you’re a first time buyer it’s important to note that there are no fixed prices. A house may be advertised as £250,000; however that doesn’t mean that you have to pay that amount.

It’s basically a starting point for negotiations. It’s what the buyer wants for the house, but it isn’t necessarily a fair representation of what it’s worth. The amount is usually a little higher than it should be, which means buyers have a little room for negotiation.

As a general rule the first offer should aim to be around 5-10% lower than what the owners are asking for. You are 100% expected to negotiate, but how you should handle the negotiation will depend upon a number of factors.

Things to take into consideration

The main things that will affect negotiations include:

  • The amount of interest in the property
  • What time of year it is
  • How quickly the owner wants to sell
  • The length of time the house has been on the marketbuying a house

The more interest that the property has, the worse position you will be in to negotiate. If you’re competing against another buyer, you could end up in a bidding war if you aren’t careful. Make sure you have a set amount in your head that you won’t go above.

It’s also worth noting that some sellers and their agents make up other interest in the property to encourage a higher offer. Never go above your budget. If the seller is quite tough when they’re negotiating, you should take that as a sign that there is other interest and in this case the asking price would be the best offer.

The longer the house has been on the market, the more chance there is that the seller will negotiate a better deal. So if you spot that a property is ‘new on the market’ expect to negotiate a lot more than you’d need to on an older property.

Before you take the plunge

Under no circumstances should you make an offer before you’ve had the property looked over. A surveyor will be able to go around the property and make a list of potential problems; if there are any issues you could use this as leverage to negotiate a cheaper offer.

Above all else, you won’t get anywhere if you’re rude and aggressive – always be polite and respectful no matter how frustrated you become. Also, don’t let on how much you actually like the property as the seller will see this as an opportunity to get you to pay more. Stay cool and collected and you’re more likely to get a lower price. These are the main things you need to keep in mind when deciding how much to offer on the house of your dreams.

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About Jemma Porter

About Jemma Porter

Jemma Porter is an experienced content creator who has written for a number of online publications. A self-confessed penny pincher; she's often found seeking out the best personal finance deals.

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