Please help me make an offer!

(83 Posts)
flow4 Sat 16-Mar-13 08:45:50

Hi all, I bought my first house nearly 25 years ago and stayed in it. I am finally ready to move (with 2 teenagers now) and have found a house I like, but I feel really inexperienced and out of my depth - since I have only ever bought a house once and it was so long ago! I am a single parent too, so I have no-one to share the decision-making with... So I'd very much appreciate some opinions and advice! smile

The house I like is on the market for £132,500. It's a 3 bedroom semi on the fringes of an ex-council estate in a pleasant enough mixed area. It's in good condition with good sized garden and detached garage. Its kitchen and bathroom are under 2 years old. A neighbouring house which is in the middle of a row of 4 rather than a semi, and not so well situated or pleasant, is on the market for 129K. Overall, I'd say it's quite a desirable house - among the best of its type.

The market in our area is pretty flat. My current neighbours' house has been on the market for 2 years. Lots of other houses have been on the market for a year or so. But of course 'desirable' properties sell more quickly... And there's always the anxiety that the market may pick up at any moment!

I am (subject to final official mortgage offers via a broker who is on holiday) in a position to offer up to the asking price (and perhaps a bit over) without needing to sell first - effectively like a FTB. I know in theory this puts me in a strong position to negotiate...

I also know - or have been told - that the vendor is in no great hurry to move, is looking to move to a smaller property in a more expensive area which could potentially be above the asking price for this one, and has not yet found the house she wants. I also know she bought the house herself six years ago (when the market was a bit healthier) for £125K.

Stamp Duty is a bit of a psychological barrier - it's obviously not insurmountable, but it's in my head... My first instinct is to offer £125K (subject to survey) - which is just over 94% of the asking price. But because I'm inexperienced, I'm unsure about how to 'play the game'... Will the vendor expect me to move up from my first offer? Should I go in lower and offer, say, 90% of the asking price (119,250) or would that just be insulting?!

Thanks in advance to anyone who's more experienced at this than me, and who's kind enough to offer me any advice!

middleagedspread Tue 26-Mar-13 21:29:50

Ah, well that's a different story.
What's to say you'll be in for the summer if she hasn't found anywhere? Could you quiz the EA for her situation? It could be that she hasn't found anywhere because she's felt that if she hasn't sold hers she can't really look. Or, she's ideally looking & put her house on to test the water.
I think I'd pump for information before making a decision.
You're doing really well.

flow4 Wed 27-Mar-13 04:13:04

Awake at 4am fretting... hmm Can I make a conditional offers? I.e. £127.5k if she's out by x date (spring bank?)...

Don't go higher than £125k. That's the stamp duty threshold and you'd be crazy to pay a couple of grand in tax just to increase your offer slightly.

The agents are chasing you up so they clearly don't have loads of other people interested. Stick to your guns, 125k or walk away.

flow4 Wed 27-Mar-13 07:00:09

Obviously I would prefer to buy below the threshold. But I don't think she'll sell at that price, or not for many months. It's so hard to decide...

Jaynebxl Wed 27-Mar-13 07:15:07

The threshold is very tricky but I don't think you can base your offer on it, sadly. You could make the conditional offer but what if she practically can't be out by the deadline, say because of surveys and searches etc? Also what would you do if it was all going ahead and then became clear she was going to miss the deadline? You wouldn't want to pull out then if you've paid for searches etc. Personally if you like it I would just go for it if you can afford it.

middleagedspread Wed 27-Mar-13 07:25:23

I think you really need to establish how serious she is about moving. Is she looking at properties & has she seen one she likes? The EA should be able to give you an idea, but of course he'll tell you what you want to hear.
If you think the house is only worth 125 other people will too. If you really think its the one of you an offer of 127.5 with an exchange within a month (completion could be longer to allow for hold ups down the chain) would be reasonable.
But please say this offer only stands for a finite period, otherwise she could make you hang on for weeks, waiting for a better offer.
If she says no, be prepared to walk away & keep looking at other properties.

PastaBeeandCheese Wed 27-Mar-13 08:55:15

Yes, you can make a conditional offer. I made a very low offer on the house I'm in on basis that they would have the money in 28 days as our sale was proceeding. Same approach but the other way round.

It was an estate purchase and it worked. Got £40k off asking price.

Good luck - this is better than a live birth thread!

Can I be the first to <waves pom poms>

flow4 Wed 27-Mar-13 23:12:56

Hahaha, thank you Pasta, I have been feeling the strain this evening, so it has been lovely to come here and have you make me smile with your images of live birthing and pom poms! grin

Jayne, you're right about the deadline... I wouldn't to pull out if I'd got that far down the line. mas, I think she's serious about moving but hasn't found anywhere she likes yet. So I'm all set to go, chain-free, and can move quickly, which would be a big advantage dealing with many vendors - but not to this one unless/until she finds a house she wants to buy.

I am thinking I should probably hold my nerve and not increase my offer at the moment. I still haven't had a chance to view houses in the £135-145+k price range (because we've been snowed in) and I really should, in case there are any that are worth a cheeky offer. I've seen a few possibilities online, and I think I'd be silly not to check them out. I could do that this weekend, and then decide whether to increase my offer or not after the bank holiday...

PastaBeeandCheese Wed 27-Mar-13 23:35:04

Don't stress about it flow your plan sounds sensible to me. You must have a look at what else is available even if that only affirms your original choice. It'll give you food for thought and a better way to assess value of house #1 by providing comparison points.

flow4 Sat 30-Mar-13 17:44:30

I've arranged some other house viewings (and done a couple of them), but my stress levels are pretty high... If this is the property equivalent of a live birth thread, then I'm in an extended stage one, and I want some gas and air! grin

MrsJamin Sat 30-Mar-13 18:21:00

Just remember to breathe!

flow4 Sat 30-Mar-13 20:37:52

Ahhh, THAT'S what's wrong! confused grin

middleagedspread Thu 04-Apr-13 08:02:54

Any news?

MrsJamin Sat 06-Apr-13 06:59:35

Let's have an update!

flow4 Sun 07-Apr-13 11:46:34

Sorry! MN didn't notify me that you'd commented! blush

No news... Other than that I'm hanging on in there trying not to have a nervous breakdown! The vendor and my solicitor are on holiday... I can't make anything happen... confused

I decided I would in principle make a higher offer if that would get things moving... Then I decided that actually, since she hasn't got anywhere to move to, and there are no other offers on the table, then I'd be foolish to offer more... I go round in circles...

Meanwhile, I've looked at about 100 houses on the internet, and viewed 10, but not yet found another I'd like to offer on... >deep sigh<

flow4 Thu 11-Apr-13 09:27:54

Just another quick update to say, um, no news. sad
I have decided to sit tight and not increase my offer for now. The vendor doesn't seem to be house-hunting very seriously (though I suppose I only actually know what the EA is telling me).
I've arranged 6 other viewings tomorrow/sat - all houses on the market for more than this one, but within a range where an offer of £125-130 might well be accepted. There's a bit of me hoping I see one I want to offer on, so I can go back to the EA and say "Look, I made a 95% offer... Last chance, before I offer on X instead".
Or maybe one of the houses we visit will be even better! Keep your fingers crossed, please. smile

Coconutty Thu 11-Apr-13 09:34:29

Keep looking, there may be a house out there which is perfect for you and where the vendors actually want to move.

flow4 Thu 11-Apr-13 22:00:50

Thank you Coconutty. I'm feeling a bit of deflated at the mo... We got ourselves all geared up to move - which with hindsight was obviously daft - and now nothing's happening...And my boys can't quite get their head round how lonnnng everything takes!

flow4 Thu 11-Apr-13 22:01:37

(A bit of deflated?! confused grin )

MrsJamin Fri 12-Apr-13 14:55:00

Most vendors won't start looking until they have accepted an offer, so I wouldn't go by that.

flow4 Fri 12-Apr-13 17:58:05

I'm only just realised that. I knew I was inexperienced, but the tricky thing is that you don't always know what you don't know, until something reveals the depth of your ignorance! confused

I'm feeling quite fed up today. The BTL lender's valuer came round to do the valuation of my current house today, and was friendly enough but quite negative - seemed to be trying to lower my expectations. 2 EAs valued my house last summer at £115-125k and one at £105-110k, so I have applied for a BTL mortgage based on a £110K valuation... If he recommends much below £100k, I will not be happy... sad

flow4 Mon 15-Apr-13 10:25:34

OK, update... smile

The valuer valued my current house at £95K, which is ridiculously low, and means they will only approve a loan of £66.5K rather than the £77K I applied for... But luckily I applied for more money than I needed, so it won't scupper my plans. Apparently the individual valuer has a bit of a reputation... hmm

I have therefore just now 'phoned and raised my offer by £2.5K. This takes me above the stamp duty threshold, and I know lots of people will think I'm mad... But I've now viewed about 15 houses, and looked at hundreds on line, and I've not seen another one I like enough to offer on. Who was it who said (Jayne ?) that the extra few thousands pounds won't seem relevant ten years down the line...? I decided I agree! smile

Keep your fingers crossed for me please, everyone!

AliceWChild Mon 15-Apr-13 14:14:34

Glad you're listening to your heart grin

Jaynebxl Mon 15-Apr-13 14:52:09

Yay! Hope they accept!

flow4 Mon 15-Apr-13 15:11:17

Well, she hasn't. sad She's rejected my offer and said she won't accept less than £130k... I'm back to thinking I should prob walk away... confused sad

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