Tips for making an offer on a house

13 May, 2019

House hunting is great fun. 

Making that Saturday morning coffee, sitting down with the newspaper listings, planning your day - then wandering through many lovely (and spotless!) homes. 

Then - you find the one. That’s when things get serious. 

Placing an offer on a house can be daunting - do you go low and hope for a bargain, or will you be dismissed as someone who isn’t serious? But - go to high, and you’re opening yourself up to paying more than it’s worth. 

It’s a delicate balance - and a home is a huge commitment. So we’ve put together some tips for putting an offer on a house. 

Pre-approval

Approaching your financial institution and getting pre-approval is the best place to start.

Offers can be made without pre-approval - but having this tick from your financial institution is a huge bonus for you. It puts you in a stronger bargaining position and lets the agent know you’re serious. 

You can find out more information on how to get pre-approval in our ‘Are you ready to buy your first home’ series. 

A home loan is a big decision. If you find an institution you can trust, who wants to give you the best deal possible, the rest will come more easily. 

Do your research, make sure you go in and chat to the staff to get an idea of what they’re about. 

This process doesn’t have to feel isolating. CWCU have competitive deals, and we will walk you through each step of the way and be there to assist you.

Have a look at our home loan options for more information. 

Decide on a budget - and stick to it

Once you’ve got pre-approval for a certain figure, make sure you stick to offers that are true to your budget. 

While being outbid can be frustrating, it’s better than having to approach the bank again, and potentially overextending yourself. 

Plus, the seller will be frustrated if you commit to a figure the bank won’t give you. 

Market research

Once you’ve found the house you think might be ‘it’ - take a look at similar listings in the area - but also recently sold. 

Go to as many open homes as possible. Some questions to ask are:
How long has this been on the market for?
Have you had any offers?
What has the feedback been?

Owners whose houses have been sitting on the market for a while might be inclined to accept a lower offer, if they’re motivated to sell. If they’ve had other offers - these can give you an idea of what they’re prepared to - and not prepared to - let the house go for. 

Once you’ve gone to some open homes and had a good look around, you’ll definitely notice a trend and be able to get a fair idea of how much it’s worth. 

Talk to the local council

It doesn’t hurt to approach the local council and ask if there are any major projects happening in the area that will affect your potential house. 

Unfortunately, sometimes agents will not always disclose if there’s a new road or development on the cards, that might impact the property. 

So a quick phone call could save you from buying a house that may end up on the fringes of a main road!

Hot Tip: The highest bid may not be the winning bid

Here’s the thing - the highest amount offered may not be the deciding factor for a vendor. 

The top offer may be passed over for other factors, for example, a shorter/longer settlement, or an offer that is not conditional on finance.

If you’re in a position to offer a quick exchange or a shorter settlement time, you may have an advantage over someone who needs a longer time frame.

Sometimes personal factors come into play. Many people hold sentimental value to their home, especially if they’ve lived there for a long time. So, a young couple starting a family might be the preferred buyer for an older couple who are selling the home they raised their family in.