How to Make your Offer to Buy a Property Look Really Good
27th May 2010
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You have found a property that you like, but should you make an offer?  If you are not sure, think about this:

"If you were to call your estate agent tomorrow to make an offer and the agent told you that the property was already gone, how would you feel?"

If the answer is "devastated", then you need to make an offer and show that you are serious.

As a general guide, in a stable market, don't offer less than 10% lower than the asking price unless you are prepared to alienate the seller and the agent and lose the property.

Once you've made an acceptable offer, make it look even better.  First verbally and then in writing (via fax or e-mail) clarify exactly what your offer is and what you expect that offer to include.

For example, that correspondence could look like this:
I confirm that I wish to offer £255,000 on the 10 Ealing Example Street, London, W5 1XX. The offer is to include the curtains, carpets and cooker. My offer is made up of a £200,000 mortgage from Example Bank and £55,000 in cash. I have nothing to sell and would want to exchange in four weeks time and complete four weeks after that. I attach my Agreement in Principle and a copy of a bank statement to confirm my finances. The solicitor I will be using is ... and their telephone number is ...

With all this extra information your estate agent can demonstrate to the seller that you are serious and proceedable.  Back up your serious intentions by attaching proof of your ability to proceed (an agreement in principle or pre-arranged mortgage), the details of the solicitor you have chosen and a bank statement or otherwise proving the cash element.

Other things that may make your offer look even better:

1.  Using the solicitor the agent recommends or one with a knowledge of the local area - Northfields can recommend solicitors that we have worked with extensively and that we know work efficiently.  It is in both your estate agent's and your own interests to get the sale completed as quickly as possible and with as little fuss as possible.

2.  Using (or at least visiting) the financial adviser the agent recommends - Why do estate agents ask you to do this?  There are several reasons that you may not be aware of.  Read this article on talking to an estate agent's recommended mortgage adviser. to find out why.

3.  Being open and clear with your situation

4.  Laying down timescales

5.  Defining what you want included in the sale

By doing these simple things the vendor knows exactly where you are coming from and treats you as a serious buyer. It also greatly reduces the possibility of disagreements after you have spent money on solicitors fees and surveys.

Whatever happens, the actual transaction will move much more smoothly from the outset.

If you are still looking for the perfect property, click here to search for properties in the Ealing with your award-winning local agent Northfields Estates.

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