You’ve made an offer to buy a property – fantastic. So what happens next?

In Western Australia, a real estate agent or sales representative has an obligation to communicate all offers to their seller as soon as is practicable. But did you know that there’s no time frame in which an offer needs to be responded to nor any obligation on the seller to counter?

When you make an offer, you should always ask your agent to explain the time frames and process for how your offer will be dealt with.

And unless acceptance has been communicated, if you don’t like how it’s being dealt with, you can withdraw your offer.

Normally, one of four things will happen when you make an offer:

  1. It gets accepted
  2. It gets rejected
  3. It gets countered
  4. The sellers may keep it on hold if they’re selling via an end date sale or expressions of interest process.

It gets accepted…

The great thing about making a strong early offer for a property is that a motivated (and realistic) seller may choose to accept it. If that’s the case you’re done and the property is yours (subject to all conditions being satisfied). Acceptance (or rejection) is also common in multiple offer scenarios where buyers are in competition and required to submit their best and final offer. If you’re in the latter scenario don’t muck around, put down the most that you’re prepared (and can afford) to pay or risk losing out.

It gets rejected…

If you’re trying to play hard ball and your offer amount is too low and/or the contract conditions too onerous, the seller may simply choose to reject your offer rather than counter.  If this is the case, try not to get your nose out of joint and come back with something closer to what you were genuinely prepared to pay. If your only interest is in getting a bargain though, be prepared to make a lot of offers!

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It gets countered…

Many buyers choose to make an offer a bit below what they would be prepared to pay expecting the seller to come back with a counter offer. If you’re in a back and forth situation with the seller, don’t let your need to win at the negotiation lose you the prize. Sellers often counter a buyers offer with their genuine bottom line and you can miss out on the property trying to be too clever or focused on getting an even better deal not realising you already have one.

It’s put on hold…

This can happen if the property is being sold via a Set Date Sale or Expressions of Interest process and you’ve made an offer prior to the end date, which is usually the better strategy. A seller may choose not to deal with the offer straight away because they may be expecting further offers or the offer amount isn’t yet at a level that will draw them into negotiating with you. If this happens you’ve got three options, increase your offer, withdraw your offer, or leave it on the table until the end of the campaign period in which case, assuming there’s no further offers, you’ll be in the driving seat when it comes to dealing with the sellers.

And my best advice when it comes to making and dealing with offers? Keep your eye on the prize, don’t be a dick when it comes to negotiating and remember that an agent isn’t a mind reader! If you’re going to play games be prepared to miss out, but if you’re genuine and moving forward with the right intention there’s a good chance you’ll land that home of your dreams. Good luck!

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Natalie Hoye is the Founder and Licensee of Red Fox Property Group – a boutique agency doing things differently in the suburbs surrounding Beaufort Street. We call it ‘real estate alchemy’: a genuine blend of science and intuition, marketing and magic, head and heart. The Red Fox Way. And we’d love to chat with you about your local real estate needs. Call us now on 0405 812 273.