First Time Buyer
How to a write a winning property offer letter
1) Always put an offer in writing
The offer needs to be in writing so an email or letter is fine. The estate agent is then required to put this forward to the owner by law unless the seller has asked not to receive offers below a certain price.
An offer over the phone isn’t really binding on the agent. Also in my experience, there can be items discussed which are then found to be incorrect. As an example, we were told by an agent a lease was over 100 years and it turned out to be 81 years which meant the premium to extend the lease was significantly more expensive than we expected.
2) Add ‘subject to contract’ to any offer in writing
This means your offer is not binding until the solicitor has agreed the detailed terms.
3) Include as much detail as possible
You should note anything you have been told by the estate agent and you should give as much detail as possible about your offer and position such as whether you’re a first time buyer or cash buyer as this will always make you more attractive to the vendor. The better you can make your offer look, the more likely it is to be accepted.
Include your solicitor details and whether you’ve obtained a decision in principle from the bank – this is now normally something requested by many estate agents in London.
Without this you would need to speak to the selling agent’s mortgage broker and you may even have to do this as part of the due diligence process by the selling agent. As above, always include lease length and service charge if appropriate as estate agents frequently get these wrong.
4) Be as flexible as possible on timing
It’s usually the seller who has requirements for a move date; new school start date etc. To get the best price you need to be as flexible as possible.
5) Use evidence to back up your price
If you want to reduce the price try and explain the reasons why, with evidence to back up your argument. If the property is overpriced give comparable property sales to prove your offer makes sense in the current market.
Ben Temple is the chief investment officer at Temple Field Property
Related: See YourMoney.com’s Experts reveal their off-market property buying and selling tips for more information if you’re looking for a private deal.