Buying a house - first steps




May I please ask for some DiS advice?

I am thinking of putting in an offer for a house today. What I know is the following:

  1. The house has been on the market for four months.

  2. The sellers have found a place they want to buy.

  3. The sellers did have a buyer (subject to contract, I don’t know at what price), but that buyer’s chain fell over before exchange.

  4. The asking price has not been reduced.

  5. The estate agent says that another offer has been made, which was initially “a bit on the low side” but has since been increased and is now seriously being considered by the sellers.

  6. We really like the place and could afford full asking price, but think asking price is at the top end of the house’s value range and would prefer to pay less (we would have to spend a fair bit to redecorate right away).

What do you think we should do, DiS?


Offer whatever you think it’s worth. There are other factors which might mean you’re favoured over the other people…

  1. Offer the asking price.

You clearly want it, you clearly wont regret it, and trying to get £3k (or whatever0 off is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things (pence more per month on the mortgage).

However, when making offers everyone focusses far too much on the price. Remember, anyone can say a big number - you need to make yourself the easy option too. So your offer should be:


Pleased to report that we are happy to offer the full asking price, but please be aware this is a final offer. We have our mortgage in place, no chain, and have solicitors instructed so can press the button this side of Christmas.

Look forward to hearing.



If you REALLY want the place, and you think that, TO YOU the place is worth the asking price, and you don’t want to fuck about with a chance of losing it to this other bidder, offer the asking price. Or maybe a wee bit under.

Basically, if it’s defo what you want, just windmill in and snap it up.

If it’s just… good… but you’re not going to rue missing out, don’t stretch your offer.

The alternative is to miss out, fuck about waiting for another place to come up that is as good, and maybe not even get it when it does.


You’re chain free aren’t you? Emphasise that.


i agree with wes that minimum offer should be wee under, coz otherwise they’ll bolt


I would definitely chance my arm at offering a lower price. The other offer might be significantly lower than the asking price but they are considering it. Depends on the market in the area. I managed to haggle 20k off ours and was only way we could have afforded it.


Nah, they want it, can afford it, and someone else is all over it like a puma (if you believe the estate agent). Imagine offering £5k less then missing out.


Key phrase here “If you believe the estate agent” :wink:
Depends on area, innit? No way was I offering asking price. People chancing their arm around my way with cheeky prices


You clearly want it, you clearly wont regret it, and trying to get £3k (or whatever off is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things (pence more per month on the mortgage).

^This, with a smidge of this as a quick reality check:

Depends on the market in the area.

But mostly the first bit. Unless the market in the area is depressed, or there’s some other reason to chance your arm with a low ball bid (like you’re at the very to end of your budget), you kinda have to ignore the other bidder, if they even exist, and shoot your wad if it’s what you want and you have the money. Trying to second guess other bidders is mind games against yourself and the way of torment and anguish.


It’s a crap shoot, but when we bought I (and I am a commercial property agent) basically missed out on a couple of ones we really liked because I called bullshit on the “other interest” from the estate agent. Mrs JH got fairly annoyed!

So on the one we REALLY wanted, we probably entered into a Dutch auction with a fictional other party, upped our offer, and got it. And I don’t care. All part of the shitty British house buying process, but got us the one we want. Well, the third one.


We’re not talking £5k here.


What do you mean? You are planning on offering way less than asking even though you really want it and can afford it, and someone else is trying to buy it?

Or are you talking about a smaller reduction on asking?


Sorry, I mean the difference between paying full asking price and, say, 95% of asking price is a significant sum of money.


Oh okay. I was suggesting you might be trying for £5k, not 5%, but whatever. Just buy the frigger. Its gone up in value by 5% whilst we have been talking about it.



This has been on my to-do list for an embarrassingly long time. I flooded the bathroom after getting back from doing the Bermondsey Beer mile and had to use the external one. Had to repaint the whole kitchen afterwards.

How do you find it? I have no clue how.


I would offer under. Chain free is a pretty big deal. We took the lower of two offers on our old place because they were chain free.


Yep. Being chain free and having a large deposit (no idea if that’s your situation raanraals) might mean a lower offer is accepted. It was for us.


Thanks for the responses. My thinking was as follows:

  1. The offer the sellers are considering obviously isn’t that close to asking price as it would be a no brainer to accept if it were, given the sellers’ circumstances.

  2. One thing I forgot to say is that the estate agent has been contacting me daily this week to elicit an offer, which suggests the same as 1.

  3. As Im_On_Safari says, the other offer that the sellers are thinking they might accept could be significantly below asking price and we don’t want to pay way more than the sellers would accept.

  4. My plan was to call the estate agent and say:

(a) we really like it but think asking price is a bit toppy given that we’ve identified things we’d have to spend money on immediately;

(b) we have a range in our minds as to what we’re willing to pay;

© there’s no point our putting in an offer below the current offer and then doing a dance to negotiate price; so

(d) it would be helpful if you could give us a clue as to what sort of range our offer would need to be coming in at for it to be the highest offer and acceptable to the sellers.