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How to make an offer on a house

Whether you're competing with other buyers or not, make sure everything is in order when you make your offer, or risk missing out on your dream home.

How To Make An Offer On A House

Article summary

  • Getting prequalified gives you an idea of what you can afford, putting you in a strong position when negotiating with the seller.
  • Sellers want to close the deal quickly, so ensure that the process of dealing with you will be smooth and efficient.
  • Make your offer to purchase early and confidently; don’t mess around even if the home doesn’t seem to be attracting much interest yet.

So you’ve found your dream home, and the time has come to make an offer. In some cases you may be competing with many other interested buyers, in which case you’re going to have to move quickly and convince the seller you’re committed, and that you have the necessary resources to ensure the process goes smoothly.

How to make an offer on a house and get ahead of the competition

Most sellers want to close the deal quickly, and if you can convince them that will happen, that’s already a point in your favour. That means the seller has to be sure you have all your affairs in order and that you won’t drop out halfway through the process.

Here are some tips for gaining the advantage when making an offer on a house:

Get prequalified

Prequalification gives you an idea of what you can afford, which will put you in a strong position when making the offer. The prequalification process presents you with a certificate that you can show the seller or estate agent, serving as proof that you can afford the home.

You can get prequalified by contacting an expert at ooba Home Loans — South Africa’s leading home loan comparison service — or by using their free, online prequalification tool, the Bond Indicator.

Endear yourself to the seller

Forming a personal connection with the seller can help. Even though they’re selling the home, they might still be emotionally attached to it, and showing them that you care about the home too and will take good care of it can help persuade them that you’re the right person to hand it off to.

The home inspection is a good opportunity to do this. You can show your appreciation for the work they’ve put into furnishing and decorating the home, and hint at your own intentions for doing the same.

Negotiating the offer

Obviously, you want to be careful when making your bid. The offer can be a bit lower than the market value, but too low and the seller might be insulted. It really depends on the state of the market, how long the home has been on sale and how eager the seller is to offload it.

Seeking the advice of an estate agent when negotiating the offer can provide you with the necessary knowledge of the market and the neighbourhood in which you’re buying. They can advise you on the market value of the home, and what would be an acceptable range for your offer.

Making the offer to purchase

Make the offer early, and confidently. Don’t play games. Even if the house doesn’t seem to have attracted that much interest, you need to take this part of the process seriously.

The offer to purchase dictates the conditions that need to be met on each side before the sale can go ahead. Bear in mind that it may include a 72-hour clause, which allows the home seller to keep marketing the home, and to accept an offer if it’s better than yours, giving you only 72 hours to get your necessary paperwork together and finalise your offer before the home is sold to the competing buyer.

Try to close the deal quickly, but be flexible

As mentioned, sellers like to close the deal quickly. However, they may also like a bit of flexibility in how quickly they have to vacate the home, and being accommodating to those needs will earn you points.

Time to make the offer

When you’re ready to make an offer on the house, bear in mind that ooba Home Loans offers a range of tools that can make the home-buying process easier. Start with their Bond Calculator, then use the ooba Home Loans Bond Indicator to determine what you can afford. Finally, when you’re ready, you can apply for a home loan.

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