How to Make an Offer on Your Dream Home

Putting an offer forward to purchase a house is a big step and can be quite daunting, especially as it’s likely to be one of the most expensive transactions you’ll ever make. So, we’ve put together some tips and guidance to hopefully help make the process of submitting an offer and negotiation through to acceptance smoother.

Before submitting an offer

The first thing you need to do is prepare. The more pre-planning that you can do the better, as you’ll go into the negotiation process comfortable and full of confidence.

So, what should you do?

Research similar properties in the area

Do your homework before you place an offer so you go into the process comfortable and confident.

Research the asking and sold prices of properties of a similar size and type in the area that you are looking to buy. This will help you to better understand the local market and will hopefully make you feel more comfortable that the price that you’re willing to pay is the right one for you and the area you are buying in.

Have your finances and documentation ready

As well as looking at the local market you should also start getting your documentation ready.

You will need to have worked out where your money is coming from and have that documented, to show proof of funds. If you’re buying with a mortgage you should speak to your mortgage adviser or provider to get a mortgage agreement in principle, you'll also have to make sure that you have enough money for a full deposit. Ideally, this should be done before you start your search.

This will show the estate agent that you have the money in place, and you will be looked upon favourably by the sellers.


It is a legal requirement for estate agents to do customer due diligence checks to prove that you are who you say you are. This will include taking some personal details from you and checking an ID like your passport or driving licence.

So, make sure you’re prepared for this and don’t be surprised when they ask for your ID when you submit an offer.

Work out your bidding strategy

Now you know how much financial backing you have got, it’s worth thinking about your bidding strategy.

There are essentially two ways of thinking here.

The first is to make your first offer your best offer. This will show that you’re a serious buyer and could be the way to go if you don’t want to get into a drawn-out negotiation process.

The second way of thinking is to go in with a lower offer to try and bag a bargain while still giving yourself some wriggle room to negotiate should the first offer be rejected.

Whichever way you wish to go you shouldn’t offer more than what the property is worth following your research, or more than you can afford.

Making an offer

Now you’ve done your prep work and found a home that you would like to buy, the next thing to do is to put in an offer.

You can do this by calling or going into the estate agent’s office (if they have one). It is wise to put the offer in writing to either take with you or send via email following your conversation to make sure it is recorded accurately.  

The estate agent will then ask you about where the money is going to come from and they might ask questions about how quickly you can go ahead with the purchase as well, but this shouldn’t be an issue because you are well prepared.

It’s then the agents’ job to tell the seller about your offer and by law, they must pass every offer they receive to the seller and then there’s that moment of truth.

Is it a yes or a no?

If your first offer is accepted, congratulations! Break out the champagne, you are one step closer to becoming a homeowner.

But if it’s a no, it’s either time to go back to the drawing board or to enter negotiations. Before making a second offer it is worth finding out about any other offers that may have been put forward, and if they are higher than your current bid, this will help you figure out how much to increase your offer by.

If the bids are getting near to the asking price or the limit you had previously set yourself, you need to seriously consider whether it’s worth offering more money. It may seem worth it for your dream home, but you need to take into account any extra fees you may need to pay, like stamp duty costs.

Hopefully, at the end of the negotiation, you will have an offer accepted at a price that suits both you and the seller.


New home owners

Stress your position

First-time buyers with no chain make for attractive buyers. Your seller may be looking to move as soon as possible and if you’re in a good position, you should make that clear as it will make you more attractive than other potential buyers.

Build relationships

Building a relationship with your estate agent will help ensure you’re getting the best possible advice about your purchase. Try and go into their offices rather than having a phone call, and sit down with them to discuss your requirements so that later down the line they can put a face to your name.

Act quickly

Sellers are busy and don't want time wasters. If you like the look of a property, don't dawdle – be the first to get a viewing. Being proactive is one way to show the seller you're a serious contender.

Putting a price on it

While a bit of negotiating is to be expected, don't go too low. This can cause tension with the seller and you may end up losing the property altogether if someone else offers a higher bid. You should try to avoid round numbers to prevent yourself from making the same bid as someone else.

Protect your purchase once accepted

Once your offer has been accepted, ask for the property to be taken off the market straight away. This can minimise the chances of additional offers coming in over and above yours and finding you’ve been trumped. 

After the offer is accepted

Having your offer accepted is a great moment but you must remember the deal is not legally binding until contracts have been exchanged.

This means there is still a risk that the seller could back out or that another person ‘gazumps’ you by putting in a higher offer which the seller accepts.

To try and avoid gazumping you can ask the sellers to stop marketing their property. This will also prevent people from being able to find it on the portals, which in turn will reduce the risk of other people putting an offer in.

You should set a realistic target date for exchange and keep in communication with the estate agent to see how things are progressing. If you are worried the sale might be taking too long read our tips on how to speed up a property sale.



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