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Property Advice on Making an Offer on a House in NI

The offer should be made to the estate agent who is obligated by law to record it in writing and pass it on in writing to the seller.

Here are some helpful pointers:

  • Remember the three most important valuation factors are location, location and location!
  • Normally the price of a property has a certain amount of leeway built into it so it is usual to initially offer less than the asking price unless the market is buoyant and you want to try and quickly agree a deal.
  • Make sure it is clear that your offer is made subject to survey and contract; this means you will not be legally obligated until your survey has been affected and you have signed the legal contract through your solicitor.
  • You may be able to get some carpets, curtains, blinds, light fittings or other contents if you say your offer is to include these items.
  • It will cost you more than you think to renovate so remember a property with recently fitted windows or kitchen or bathroom fittings may save you a lot.
  • Sellers do not always necessarily take the highest offer. It can help to build a relationship or friendship as some sellers like to be reassured their home is going to someone nice. Also, discuss your offer directly with the seller if possible.
  • The seller and agent will be reassured if you are able to:-
    • confirm that your own house is sold,
    • that you have 5% or 10% of the price available as a deposit,
    • that your mortgage arrangements have already been favourably considered subject to survey and you are thus someone the seller or agent should have confidence in.

Once your offer has been accepted you will get a letter from the estate agent confirming the agreement reached on a "subject to contract" basis. This means the arrangement at this stage is not legally binding on either the seller or the buyer. At this point buyers need to incur expense by employing solicitors and surveyors and finalising mortgage arrangements. Buyers are at risk on these expenses if the deal does not proceed to a legal contract and then completion.

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