Making offers on property – five top tips for success

Making offers – In a market currently starved of stock and rife with competition, we seem to be fielding questions from potential buyers every day for advice on making offers and how they can stand out from the crowd.

Madison Oakley - making offers

As we’re discussing offers with owners on a daily basis, we’ve come up with five of our top tips to help you shape your own offer for maximum success;

Research the sellers circumstances – in a market starved of supply, you’ll want to know if the seller is buying onwards and, if so, where. If they can’t find somewhere to go and won’t move into rented, you could be waiting a very long time or even not going anywhere at all. Alternatively, if the property is offered with no chain, you can come to a mutual agreement with the seller over the timescale and work around important dates of your own. Find out why they are moving too – the more you know about them, the better you can adjust your offer to appeal to their criteria.

Research the competition – before making offers, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with exactly what else has sold in the area and not just by scanning Zoopla or Rightmove. Find out what properties nearby have only just sold and how quickly they went – call other local agents and have a chat. Don’t just rely on out of date web stats (most come from the Land Registry data and are thus at least 3 to 6 months old). You’ll also want to find out about the real competition – other potential buyers. How many other viewings are you up against? Are there any other offers on the table?

Triple check the details – is the property leasehold or freehold? If it’s a flat, how long is the lease and what are the relevant management charges? Are there any restrictions you should be aware of? What exactly is staying or going in terms of fixtures & fittings? Are there any shared amenities? What is the parking like? Are there any works to be done before completion? Now is the time to ask every question you can – you’ll start spending money quickly if your offer is accepted so do your research now.

Write your buyers C.V – its always a good idea to write or email over your offer, even if you’ve also called. Take the time to write a brief proposal to the owner and include the following info

  • Highlight anything that differentiates you from other potential buyers: are you chain-free or a cash buyer? These could help speed things up and lessen the chances of the transaction falling through. By all means ask for a specific timescale if you have deadlines to meet.
  • Show that you can definitely afford to buy the property: when making offers, provide details on your finances & enclose your mortgage agreement in principle to prove that you’ll be able to fund the necessary amount.
  • Demonstrate that you’re ready to get things moving as soon as they accept your offer: include details of your conveyancer. If you’re selling your own home, explain what stage you’re at with the sale and provide contact details of your estate agent so this can be cross checked.
  • Explain why you want to buy the house: selling a home can be emotional, and some vendors want to know who they are selling to and what use it will be put to. Maybe they get on with their neighbours or maybe they just want to know someone will love it as much as they do – it can help your cause to tell them you do!

Madison Oakley

Be nice to the seller and the agent – given this is usually an emotional time for the seller, think very carefully before putting in a low offer – you run the risk of insulting or upsetting them and I can’t count the number of occasions sellers have “taken against” buyers just because they were too cheeky at the start. As a nation, we’re not very good at haggling so step carefully unless you want to lose out. Its also worth pointing out that many sellers ask their agents opinion about buyers making offers. Its amazing how some people think being rude to agents or messing them around on appointments won’t make any difference to their chances.

For more property advice, have a look at some of our other articles at