How to make an offer on a house

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So you’ve found a home you’d like to buy, hooray! Now comes the tricky part – making an offer and getting it accepted. In this guide we’ll take a look at how to make an offer on a house and some of the things you should watch out for.

Getting a Decision in Principle

Before you start house hunting, you may want to get a Decision in Principle (DIP). This is where a lender will perform a soft credit check and check your details to see if they might be able to lend to you.

Getting a DIP can help with making an offer, as it will tell you how much a lender may be able to lend to you.

What to think about before making an offer

Making an offer on a house is usually done through the seller’s estate agent. Before you do this, think about how much you would like to offer for the property and what your budget is.

Do some research before you make an offer. Property websites often have the last sale price of homes in the area, which can give you an idea of how much a home is worth.

If your first offer is rejected, you may want to make a bigger offer. Be careful to stick to your budget. Paying more than you can afford can mean that you are not be accepted for a mortgage.

Any offers you make should be ‘subject to contract and to survey’. This means a survey has to be done and contracts signed before the offer is legally binding.


Gazumping is where someone makes a higher offer after you’ve had yours accepted. This can be frustrating, but it is legal. 

There is nothing to stop a seller doing this, but you can try to prevent it by moving quickly and sorting out all the paperwork as soon as you can. Asking to get the home taken off the market may also help.

You’ve had an offer accepted – what next?

You can complete your full mortgage application with the lender you have chosen. Next, the lender will carry out a valuation and you may want to pay for a survey to check the condition of the property.

Getting ready for the move

When you’ve had an offer and mortgage application accepted, you will get a completion date. Now you can start to plan the move.

Start packing and get quotes from removal companies (or ask helpful friends or family). 

Once you've moved, you’ll need to get your address updated on official documents, utilities and any subscriptions you may have.

Making an offer as a first time buyer

If you are a First Time Buyer or you don’t have anyone buying the home you are moving from, you won’t have a “chain”. This means you aren’t relying on selling your existing home before you buy a new one.

This can put you in a good position when you make an offer, as there’s less chance the “chain” will break down. Make sure you mention this to your estate agent.

Making an offer in Scotland

Making an offer to buy a home in Scotland is different to England. Usually properties are marketed as ‘Offers Over’ as opposed to the rest of the UK, which are listed as ‘Offers in the Region Of’ or fixed prices.

Homes listed as ‘Offers Over’ can make it hard to know how much you should offer. 

It’s a good idea to get some advice from someone who knows the local property market, such as a solicitor. You can also check sales data from property websites to see what other similar properties in the area sold for.

The content on this page is for reference and does not constitute financial advice.
For impartial financial advice, try MoneyHelper.