Making an offer on a property is hard enough, and can be quite worrying on many levels: Come in too low and you run the risk of alienting the agent and the vendor and they may not take you seriously. Too high and you may miss the lowest price point where the vendor was prepared to let the property go for, and you end up paying too much. But another thing to consider in the negotiating field is a written offer is far more effective than a verbal offer. And less likely to get ‘lost’, especially if it is much lower than the asking price.
Whilst the selling agent is legally obligated to pass on all offers to the vendor for consideration, high, low, written and verbal – regardless of the amount- sometimes this doesn’t happen. There could be nothing more upsetting calling the agent some days later after you have made a verbal offer, only to be told by the agent that they have an offer and an acceptance from another party, worse still, if that was a price you were prepared to pay. If your offer is too low, sometimes the agent doesn’t take you seriously. A written offer clearly shows you are serious, regardless of your starting point, and this will then keep you in the loop with the agent and other buyer’s offers.
Also, agents know only too well if they start playing one party against another for too long, they run the risk of losing both, so a fast un-complicated sale usually has the best result for the agent and the vendor.
Your written offer can be a simple email from you, stating your offer, the time and date and any conditions you may have. This offer is not legally binding, and you can change your mind at any time without any penalty. Some times the agent asks for a nominal amount of money as an ‘expression of interest’, but please be aware that this does not mean you have the sole opportunity to purchase the property. It is just that, an expression of interest.
Lastly, ask for a written acknowledgement of your offer.