The first thing I’m going to say about making an offer on a property is to put it in writing. Why? Because an offer doesn’t seem real to a seller unless it’s presented in writing – it tells the seller you’re serious. And if it’s in writing, you can be sure that your offer has been communicated by the agent to the sellers.

The second reason that offers should always be made in writing is because an offer isn’t just about price, it’s also about conditions.

And conditions, or the lack thereof, can make all the difference as to how a seller perceives your offer.

Sellers typically look for the easiest route to get a result. The offer that’s the most straightforward, which may not be the highest price, can be seen by the seller as the most attractive. That said, cash buyers who think that they can low ball sellers should be mindful that the difference between their cash offer and a quality finance offer is only three weeks.

So what are the typical conditions buyers attach to offers?

The first is finance – which is whether you’re borrowing money to purchase the property. If you need finance, you’ll need to nominate the amount you need to borrow plus the time frame you need for finance approval – the standard is usually 21 days from acceptance, but if you’re self employed it may take longer – check with your bank of broker as to what’s appropriate. And if you’re still not sure what you can borrow – don’t make an offer! You need to have your ducks in a row with your finance before you get started.

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Many buyers also like to include building and termite inspection conditions on their offers. REIWA has standard building & termite inspection conditions or the selling agent may also have their own version. Make sure you read any conditions thoroughly and understand what’s covered and not covered before signing and presenting your offer.

If there are other concerns you have or additional conditions you want to include discuss them with your agent. It’s likely that there’s already a standard condition that exists that will satisfactorily address your issue, or there may be a way to do your due diligence or make further investigations before you make your offer.

Remember, the more conditions you place on your offer, particularly if they’re outside the norm, the less attractive it’s likely to be to the sellers.

It’s best not to try and write your own conditions. The ones we receive that buyers have written themselves, even when they are lawyers, are often filled with issues and normally unable to be satisfied. If in doubt, speak to your agent or an experienced settlement agent before adding them to your offer.

So again, if you’re serious about a property, put your offer in writing. It takes all of 20 minutes and shows the seller you’re committed to the process.  That said, always make sure you’ve had all your queries answered and understand what you’re signing. Once your offer is accepted you’re in a binding legal contract with no cooling off period. Good luck!