Buyers – Make Sure Your Offer is Successful

In certain price ranges there is a huge shortage of stock.  The result is that many buyers fight for the same property.  There isn’t much more disappointing than making an offer on your dream property and losing out to someone else.

What’s even worse though, is making an offer and losing out to another offer that you could have beaten.  It happens all the time – and it’s devastating to the losers.

After all the effort you make to find the right property, don’t you agree it makes sense to give yourself the absolute best chance of getting your offer accepted?

Here are some practical tips that may be the difference between you moving into your dream house or not:

The price you offer:  This is always a difficult one – just how much do you offer?  In your search for properties you will have seen what else is on the market.  You may also know what else recently sold.  Use this information to guide you on what the market value is.

The best advice I can give you is to make your best offer right up front.  Tell the agent it’s your best offer.  It’s human nature to try for less – but you will probably not get the chance to increase your offer when competing against other buyers who offer more.

The transfer and occupation dates:  These are also important factors.  Ask the listing agent what the seller would like and, if possible, fit in with their timing.  If another offer suits the sellers better they may well take that over your offer.

The deposit:  This is your chance to show the seller you are serious.  Even if you are getting a 100% bond, put a deposit down.  It will trump an offer with no deposit almost every time.  It’s usually 10% – but any reasonable amount will demonstrate your intentions to conclude the sale.  It’s in trust and you earn the interest.

Occupational rental: this only applies if you take occupation before transfer.  Be generous.  Offer above market rental and you will beat a buyer who makes an identical offer, but with a lower rental.

Suspensive conditions: the more suspensive conditions you have the weaker your offer.  Offering subject to the sale of a property places you in a considerably weaker position that other buyers.  If you can first sell your other property your offer becomes much stronger.

Subject to finance: most buyers do need finance.  But with 50-60% of bonds being declined you need to give the seller confidence that your bond should be approved.  You can get pre-qualified at no cost.  Submit your pre-qualification with your offer and you will trump a buyer who isn’t pre-qualified.

You’re in a battle where the prize is securing the property you really desire.  Give attention to the price, the terms, and the timing, and you will greatly enhance your chances of winning.


Steve Caradoc-Davies

Principal of Harcourts Platinum, and Director of Harcourts South Africa

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