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The Etiquette of Offering

Oct 20, 2021 - Buying

You’ve found the property you want and now it’s time to make an offer. But what is the best approach to take? Are there things you should and should not be saying? Here’s a short guide to the art of successful offering.

Putting forward a successful offer isn’t as straightforward as you’d think. People often think it’s just a case of putting forward a monetary figure and that’s all it will come down to. However there is a lot more to it than that. There are nuances of behaviour and things, both positive and negative, that the agent and the vendor will be looking for. People adopt different tactics and approaches – some far more successful than others. So, whether it’s your first time, it’s been a long time or you just want to give yourself the best possible chance of securing that property, here are some tips and guidance on how to approach putting forward your offer.

1. The current vendor is not ‘The Opposition’ – It’s surprising how many people view offering as a battle between what the vendor wants and what they want to pay. Approaching the situation with an ‘Us Vs Them’ attitude will almost always set the wrong tone. Instead seek that common ground so things work for you both. Success will come from finding those ways to work together.

2. It's not just about the money – Of course the vendor wants to get the best possible price for their property. And we do too. But the best buyer is not always the one with the highest offer. So much more comes into play. Therefore concentrate on the positives of you as a buyer and, critically, how that aligns to the vendor’s situation. For example, do they need to move quickly or need to take their time and how flexible can you be to assist this? It’s all about how well matched you are as a buyer. It’s this we’ll be looking for not just the highest figure.

3. Do not lead with negatives – Especially when looking to open with a low/cheeky offer, listing a whole host of negative points about the property to justify an opening figure is a dangerous route to take. Any good agent will not be thinking, ‘oh yes, that makes sense’, or, ‘I can see why we’d need take off money for that’. Instead concerns will be building in their minds as to how committed you really are as a buyer. What we will be thinking is, “this doesn’t seem like the right property then” and, “are these buyers really committed and is there a risk of them pulling out causing my vendor huge problems later down the line?” Your passion and commitment for the property speaks volumes. If we think there are doubts in your mind then any offer, cheeky or not, is unlikely to be received favourably.

4. Be prepared to answer questions – An agent’s role is to put forward your offer in the best possible light. To do this they’ll need information about you in order to put your offer into context and find out everything that supports it. So if we’re asking questions about your current buying position, financial situation etc then we’re doing so to help. The more forthcoming and open you are to this process the better. Being elusive, evasive or defensive to questions will create doubts around the validity of the offer and you as a buyer. Always remember that we’re asking out of necessity.

5. Have supporting information – Any good agenct will need to see evidence to support your offer. If you need a mortgage then they'll need to see your mortgage agreement in principle. We'll often suggest speaking to our internal mortgage partners to get your offer formally substantiated to help support the offer. If it’s a full cash purchase we’ll need to see proof of funds. Unfortunately an agent nor the vendor can just take your word for it so do have your documentation ready and be prepared to share it.

6. Other offers on the table? Don’t ask how much – Only because we can’t tell you. It’s a question we get asked a lot but an agent is not able to disclose the level that others have come in at. We can guide but we can’t say how much. Sorry. But on the flipside, you know your offer level will never be disclosed.

7. Be honest – The more upfront you are the better. Honesty is always the best policy and sets the right tone for any future relationship and dealings. Try not to embellish your position or try and hide important facts. You may have offered on something else and are looking to switch or you may just have an offer on yours but you haven’t yet accepted it so aren’t technically under offer? Just let the agent know. A good agent will find these out things and, when they do, if it feels like it’s been hidden it will work against you.

8. (Try to) Trust the agent – Now… we know this won’t come natural to many would-be purchaser but remember that the agent is there to help you too. Yes the vendor is our client but we’re looking for the perfect buyer and that could be you. A good agent should always be there to offer honest advice and practical guidance to assist in making your offer. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and listen to their advice.

9. Guide Price: It’s there for a reason – The Guide Price is there to indicate what the vendor is looking for and where your offer needs to be in order for it to be successful. An offer under the guide price, sometimes quite a bit under, will be almost always be unsuccessful. And, as with any low offer, you may also run the risk of offending the vendor and starting off the relationship on the wrong foot. If you’re offer is under the guide price then get as close to it as possible and maybe open with your best and final. Or if you’ve seen a property with a guide price that’s a little of our reach then have a conversation with the agent first and see if an offer at your level would be entertained before viewing. At least you know where you stand from the outset.

And most important of all…

10. Be respectful – It seems obvious but be nice and treat the agent with respect. You’ll need the agent on your side and you’ll get far more support from them if you conduct yourself in the right way. Don’t forget, it’s all about setting the right tone for the relationship with everyone involved in the process and that includes us too.

If you need help or advice on finding and securing your next home then give the Sales team a call on 01702 480 033