Make an offer to buy a property

You should decide whether to make your best offer to purchase a property upfront, or offer a lower price to negotiate further.

The decision on how much to offer a seller for their property can be difficult to make. 

The seller may decide to accept another offer without giving you the opportunity to increase your offer.

Before you make an offer

You should visit a property several times before you make an offer to check it meets your requirements for: 

  • location
  • size
  • style
  • age and condition
  • how it functions
  • maintenance
  • lifestyle. 

You should look for potential structural problems, incomplete work and assess the plumbing, electrics, security and garden reticulation.

Check the legal aspects 

You should check all legal aspects of the property relating to the land and title before you make an offer.

This includes if the property is part of a body corporate.

You should ask a conveyancer or solicitor to order building and pest inspections, search for the certificate of title and check the future developments nearby or rezoning. 

Read more about conveyancing.

How to make an offer

If the seller has a real estate agent

If the seller has a real estate agent, you must make the offer to the agent.

It's recommended that you put this offer amount in writing such as an email.

Usually the agent will prepare the written offer to purchase with a contract for sale.  

The offer to purchase is not legally-binding and the contract for sale is not legally-accepted by the seller until it is signed.

You are also at risk of being gazumped until you have signed a contract of sale.

Some agents may ask you to provide a deposit. Your deposit will be given back to you if your offer isn't accepted by the seller.

You should make sure that any offer includes a date that your offer will lapse by. This way you will be notified on that day if your offer has been accepted or not.

If the seller doesn't have a real estate agent

You can make a private offer to purchase a property with a seller who doesn't have a real estate agent. 

You should contact a conveyancer or solicitor or seek legal advice.  

After the seller receives your offer

The agent will show your offer to the owner who can either: 

  • sign the contract of sale to agree your price
  • reject the offer
  • or change your price for you to consider. 

When there is more than one offer, through a process of offers and counteroffers, the agent will negotiate between you and the seller to achieve the best price for the seller.

Including conditions with your offer

The buyer can negotiate with the seller to have the sale subject to certain conditions. 

The sale may be subject to these conditions: 

  • finance needed to complete the purchase
  • the sale of the buyer’s existing property or an investment property
  • satisfactory building and pest reports. 

You should talk to your conveyancer or solicitor about the wording of conditions. 

The wording of any special condition will vary depending on the facts relating to a contract. 

Information that should be in a condition

A condition should include the following:

  • what has to happen
  • who has to do it
  • when it has to be done and to what standard
  • what happens in the event of default
  • whether the condition may be waived and by who.

Last updated: 23 March 2016

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