Making an offer on a house is a big step, whether you're a first-time buyer or not. Any purchase that requires hundreds and thousands of pounds needs careful consideration. Plus, if home is where the heart is, the last thing anyone wants is to buy a place they're not totally in love with. That's why you should consider several important factors before making an offer on a house, like the ones we've covered in this guide.
Get a mortgage in principle
A mortgage in principle (MIP) is necessary if you're buying a house with a mortgage. Showing a MIP certificate tells estate agents and sellers that you're a serious buyer. Plus, it will give you an idea of affordability in regards to the available houses.
Before even beginning the property search, an MIP is helpful as it estimates the total amount you can borrow. The lender will give you a certificate that you can show agents to let them know you mean business.
Research the area
Finding a place you love is just one part of the home-buying journey. You might love a house but not the area, for example. That's why you should visit the local neighbourhood before making an offer. This is especially true if you're moving to a new postcode and don't know much about your potential new area.
Spend time soaking up the local area, researching and getting to know the layout. Visit the shops, grab a bite at one of the restaurants and check out the local transport options. You can find all this information online, but there's nothing like seeing it up, close and personal.
Talk to neighbours
After viewing the home you’re interested in, why not spend time speaking to the neighbours? After all, you might end up living next door to them for the next five to 10 years, so it’s a good idea to get to know them better.
Find out more about the local area, what it's like living on the street and rubbish collection times – the sort of information you don't necessarily get when on a viewing. Talking briefly with the neighbours can give you a better feel for what it's like to live somewhere, so get chatting.
Speak to the estate agent
There’s no in harm speaking to the estate agent to get an idea about the seller’s situation. Doing so can give you a better idea of what type of offer to make. For example, how eager is the vendor to sell? If they want a quick sale, you might be able to go in lower than the asking price and negotiate from there.
Alternatively, perhaps they’re in no rush and are happy to sit back and see if multiple offers from different buyers will land on their table. Either way, asking the estate agent about their selling situation could bring some much-needed transparency and give you a better idea of what type of offer you should make.
Your maximum budget
You're convinced about the house and the arena, and you've done the maths. Now it's time to make an offer. Before you submit that first offer, however, think about the highest amount you're willing to spend. Buying a home is usually a negotiation process, and you should have some clarity about the maximum figure you're willing to pay.
That's not to say you'll pay it, but settling on this number before the negotiations begin will help you to make decisions should other bidders enter the fray. The property might seem like your dream home, but don't let your desire to live there stretch your budget.
How to make the offer
Before submitting that first offer, think about how you want to do it. Most buyers will do so in writing (usually via email), so there’s proof of the offer. If you do it via the phone, make sure you have a recording of the call as proof of the offer.
If you're lucky enough to offer on a property with an estate agent using an offer button on their website, the process will be much easier. Buttons like Offr allow buyers to submit an offer online with just a few clicks. Beyond that, you can view other legitimate offers on the property and go through the sale process, including accessing legal docs and signing contracts.
Make the first offer a good one
Taking time to think about your first offer will put you in good stead for the rest of the negotiations. By being prepared, you’ll feel more confident and can negotiate with the seller, hopefully coming to a successful conclusion that sees you move into your new home.