How do you make an offer for a house?

First-time buyers making a house offer

Making an offer on a house is a huge step towards starting your life in your new home. It can be a bit of a rollercoaster, especially if you have been in this position before and things haven’t worked out. But, as the old adage goes, when one door closes, another opens.

Here are several steps you can take to put yourself in the most suitable position to make an offer on a property:

  1. Research local house prices
  2. Get a mortgage in principle (MIP)
  3. Contact the estate agent to make an offer
  4. Follow up with an email
  5. Wait for the seller’s acceptance or counteroffer

At Bliss Financial, we’re here to guide you through this exhilarating journey, ensuring each step is taken with confidence and precaution.

In this blog, our experts (who have seen many house purchases in their time) will guide you through the art of making an offer on a house. We’ll help you identify the perfect time to make a bid, explain the all-important questions you should ask, and understand the nuances of the negotiation process.

Keep reading to put yourself in the best possible position to buy your first dream home, or contact Bliss today for further support.

How soon after viewing a house should you make an offer?

Ideally, you should make an offer as soon as you’re sure it is the one. But try not to overthink it. Unless the sellers or the estate agent has informed you of a deadline for submitting the offer (such as the property going to ‘best and final’ offer due to extensive interest), you should be free to bid as you please.

So long as you have a mortgage in principle (MIP) in place and you’ve done your homework on the property, striking while the iron is hot can demonstrate you’re a serious buyer. However, this doesn’t mean rushing in without taking a moment—a day or two—to think about your decision. Discuss your options with your partner, family and experienced mortgage broker, and ensure all your boxes are ticked.

While there aren’t any rigid rules for timing your bid, it is essential to consider that a competitive market and the seller’s situation will impact how long you have before the property is snatched up.

What questions should you ask before making an offer on a house?

Asking the right questions is a great way to strengthen your position and show that you’re a serious buyer. You should aim to get information about the seller’s situation, property interest, and potential competition.

For instance, the seller could be looking for a quick sale, in which case being chain-free or a cash buyer and ready to move fast could put you well above other buyers (even if they put in a higher offer).

Assuming you’ve already done your research on the property and investigated every minor detail, from the boiler age to any noticeable cracks, then your main focus should be establishing your position.

However, if this is your first viewing, or you still need to ask some more questions before deciding if this is your dream home, then take a look at our guide for what to look for when buying a house.

Here are some questions you can ask the estate agent to give you a better view of your potential home:

  • Why is the current owner selling the property?
  • How many viewings has the property had?
  • How long has the property been on the market?
  • Have there been any offers?
  • Are there any known issues with the property?

While the seller’s estate agent might be reluctant to tell you the exact amount of any existing offers, they should be able to tell you if the offers are high, low or around the asking price. This should give you an idea of what an acceptable offer might be.

What to do when putting an offer on a house

When you’re ready to take the next step and put an offer on a house, make sure you have all the details together, including your mortgage in principle, details of your mortgage broker and a clear proposal for your offer.

Some estate agents will have a bidding process they expect you to follow, so it is worth finding this out before making an offer. A phone call followed by an email confirming the offer is a good place to start.

Should you negotiate the asking price?

Negotiating the asking price can help you secure a better deal, which we understand is crucial for first-time buyers. But, you may be wondering, is it even possible?

Absolutely! While the guide price is usually a good starting point, making a lower offer gives you room to increase if necessary. A good initial bid is usually around 5-10% below the asking price, but this can vary depending on the housing market and competition.

Start by doing your research. Look at similar properties in the area to see their sold prices and get an idea of the local property market. This will give you a good indication of what to offer. You can also consider anything you noticed during your viewings—the kitchen may require some decorating, and an older boiler can be costly to replace.

If the sellers are looking for a quick sale and the property has been on the market for some time, this may make a lower price more feasible.

What happens if my offer on a house has been accepted?

Getting your offer accepted is an exciting time. However, you won’t get the keys just yet. In most cases, the legal process and following steps will take weeks, even a few months, to complete. Being proactive can help you get there much quicker.

Firstly, you’ll need to instruct a solicitor to handle all the legal documentation and exchange contracts. The estate agent will likely ask for this straight away to get the ball rolling and ensure there are no conflicts between your solicitor and the seller’s solicitor.

Then, you’ll need to submit your mortgage application and finalise your mortgage agreement. A friendly and knowledgeable broker, like the team at Bliss, can really help you find the right mortgage lender.

Once all the legal work has been completed and your finances are secured, you can arrange a completion date for signing documents and receiving the keys to your new home.

What happens if someone makes the same offer?

It’s not uncommon for someone else to put in the same bid as you, especially when there is more competition. While this can be frustrating, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll miss out on the opportunity to secure your ideal property.

The seller will evaluate both offers, including the position of each buyer, and may choose the offer that provides them with the most benefit. This is why being a first-time buyer and chain-free can work in your favour. When you put in a house offer, it is important to express your financial position, flexibility, enthusiasm for the property, and chain status.

Alternatively, the estate agent may ask you to increase your offer, or the sale may go to a ‘best and final’ offer, in which case you’ll get the chance to place a final sealed bid.

Looking for mortgage advice? Get in touch with Bliss

If you’ve found your perfect home and are waiting to put an offer in, you’re in the right place. At Bliss Financial, we help first-time buyers start their property search right. We make sure they know what they can afford and help them get the correct documents ready to make an offer. Then, we’ll be there throughout the process of securing the most suitable mortgage right through to getting the keys.

By understanding the process, asking the right questions and approaching each stage confidently, you can turn your dream of buying your first home into a reality.

Get in touch with Bliss today, and let’s take the next step toward getting you on the property ladder.

Frequently asked questions about making a house offer

Do I need a solicitor to make an offer on a house?

You shouldn’t need a solicitor to make an offer on a house. However, once the offer is accepted, you’ll need to instruct a solicitor to act on your behalf moving forward with the purchase. They will handle the nitty-gritty aspects, from carrying out surveys to handling all legally binding documents.

Having a solicitor in place before making an offer on a house can be helpful as it shows you are ready to act quickly once the offer has been accepted.

Do estate agents make up offers?

Most reputable estate agents follow strict rules and ethical conduct, which discourages them from making up fake offers. They will often work in tandem with redress schemes like The Property Ombudsman scheme to ensure a smooth sales process between buyers and sellers.

Will the estate agent remove the property from the market when an offer has been accepted?

Generally, once you have placed a successful bid and your finances have been clarified, the estate agent will issue an acceptance letter or email and remove the property from the market. Some estate agents take longer than others to remove properties from the market once an offer has been accepted, so it is important to keep communication open and notify them if they haven’t yet done this.

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Amanda Marsden

Amanda is the founder and owner of Bliss Financial. She has been helping clients with their mortgage and insurance needs for over 15 years. Her passion is to fully explore the options open to them and ensures the process is easy with no stress. She also specialises in helping clients invest in buy to let property and landlords.

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