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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!

AliceWChild Wed 20-Mar-13 08:07:28

Exactly, that's the thing flow. Speculating on what happens to other houses and how much they go for wont help if someone else is interested in the same as you. You can't miss it and then get it back through reference to the average stats. That's why I pay less attention to that stuff. I'd rather just be happy with the house I wanted.

ILikeBirds Wed 20-Mar-13 09:08:48

You also can't get any money back if you've offered over market value and don't have the money to make up the extra when the bank values it as less.

On a more expensive property a couple of grand might make no difference, at the sort of price the op is paying a few grand makes a real difference to loan to value ratios and thus lending options.

flow4 Fri 22-Mar-13 19:06:56

Well, after various bits of local advice, I offered £125K today. It has been rejected and the vendor says she wants to hold out for the asking price. She still hasn't found anywhere she wants to buy.

I have to decide my next move... Any suggestions? smile

MrsJamin Fri 22-Mar-13 19:45:29

Interesting. What do you think the house is actually worth? And how much do you like it?

flow4 Fri 22-Mar-13 20:23:53

I think it's probably worth a bit more than £125K, but not as much as £132.5K. She's had a bathroom and kitchen fitted since she bought it for that price in 2004. But the electrics are old - almost a decade older - and the house is going to need rewiring soon, as well as all the odds and ends like re-decorating and patch-pointing...

It's such a difficult question, isn't it? It's worth what someone will pay for it!

I like it a lot, but it's not a 'dream home'. It's light and practical and meets our needs and has v good outside space, and is reasonably aesthetically pleasing. On the other hand, its rooms are smaller than the house we're in now, and it doesn't have the amazing view we have now...

It's sooooo hard weighing up incomparable things!

middleagedspread Fri 22-Mar-13 20:31:01

If it's only recently gone on the market, she'll probably want to reject an offer lower than she was hoping for a bit.
I would suggest that you keep looking at other properties (a better one might come along) and ask the agent to keep you informed. If no more offers are forthcoming then yours might look more reasonable.
If you decide you really want it and she really wants to sell, you'd be a great position.

flow4 Fri 22-Mar-13 20:50:27

Yes, I think you're right mas, and that sounds like a reasonable plan, if I can hold my nerve! confused

MrsJamin Sat 23-Mar-13 06:26:08

Yeah I agree, unless you put in an offer of 127,500 - only 5k off asking price.

flow4 Sat 23-Mar-13 09:52:55

The thing is, when I offered 125, I wasn't expecting her to accept it, but I was expecting some sort of counter-offer along the lines of "She'd accept 130/131". This would have then made it reasonably easy for me to say "127/8" and for us to settle on somewhere around 128-129 perhaps...

But because she made no counter-offer, but just said she was looking for the asking price, I feel a bit stuck. If I go back with 127.5, she'll have no reason or incentive to do anything other than stick to her guns... So there's nothing to be gained, and in fact I think I weaken my negotiating position...

Or am I missing/misunderstanding something...? That's perfectly possible! confused

middleagedspread Sat 23-Mar-13 11:10:02

I think it's because it hasn't been on the market long. She probably had several agents offering inflated prices & at the moment thinks she'll get it.
If you can hold your nerve, step away for a while & see what happens. The EA knows you're interested & the first whiff of an offer elsewhere he'll be on the phone trying to get you to offer again.
If, as you say, the market is flat in your area then 3 months down the line £125 might seem an attractive offer.
Of course, if you really love the house & think you won't find a better one, you're in a position to offer the full asking price. However, if she hasn't found anywhere to buy you might have to wait ages anyway.

flow4 Sat 23-Mar-13 12:27:32

Yes. It would be good to put it out of my head completely for a while, wouldn't it? It's unfortunate I'm snowed in and can't go out viewing other houses to distract myself!

flow4 Tue 26-Mar-13 12:45:42

Just a quick update...

I've had a second call from the EAs this morning, asking again if I'd consider making a higher offer. I've explained my offer of £125K is still on the table, and that if the vendor accepted it I would be delighted to proceed, and that if she made a counter offer I would consider it... But that meanwhile, I am now looking at houses on the market from £135-150Kish, which are her 'competition' if she insists on the asking price.

Does that sound reasonable?!

MrsJamin Tue 26-Mar-13 13:22:05

yeah definitely. Sounds like you have nerves of steel!

middleagedspread Tue 26-Mar-13 14:52:51

Sounds like you're doing the absolutely right thing, well done.
Hang on a bit longer..& I reckon it'll be yours (at a good price).

flow4 Tue 26-Mar-13 14:59:00

Aaaaargh! grin confused
I've just had a third call saying the vendor will accept £130K...
So what do you good people reckon should be my next move?!
Dunno about nerves of steel... I feel like a woman on the verge of a breakdown!

flow4 Tue 26-Mar-13 14:59:32

(I said I'd get back to them in the morning, BTW)...

middleagedspread Tue 26-Mar-13 16:27:57

If it was me I'd wait until tomorrow afternoon (until thursday if you can, just before the BH weekend) & make an offer of 127.500 stipulating that it's your final offer & you won't be exceeding it. You're meeting her half way in a stagnant market. Also, that you'd like a decision by 4pm on thursday.
It might also be worth having a specific time frame in mind; if she hasn't found anywhere she needs to know you won't hang about forever..
You must let the EA (and by default vendor) know that you're prepared to walk away, even if you're not wink
Remember you're a vendors dream & that she's lucky to have an offer from you!

flow4 Tue 26-Mar-13 16:34:00

Remember you're a vendors dream, Remember you're a vendors dream, Remember you're a vendors dream, Remember you're a vendors dream confused

flow4 Tue 26-Mar-13 16:34:25

(Just trying to remember!) grin

middleagedspread Tue 26-Mar-13 16:57:15

Hope she's not a mums netter, or she'll know your cunning plan!

flow4 Tue 26-Mar-13 17:00:21

The thought had crossed my mind, but I think it's unlikely... > ^ crosses fingers^ <
And I can't be the only person in the country trying to buy a house without crossing the stamp duty threshold, locked in negotiations with a vendor who wants full asking price! grin

middleagedspread Tue 26-Mar-13 17:02:25

Especially not on The Isle of Man grin

flow4 Tue 26-Mar-13 19:25:36

I'm wavering between thinking I should agree to £130k to get it all over with, and stick at £125k because that's probably closer to what it's worth... That's not much good, is it?!
At this point, it seems to be more about gamesmanship than reason! confused

middleagedspread Tue 26-Mar-13 21:02:58

5K is a lot of money, thinking of the moving costs & the gorgeous soft furnishings you could buy.
It doesn't sound as if there are other interested buyers and remember the mantra...

flow4 Tue 26-Mar-13 21:13:47

£5K is a lot of money. And in fact it's £6.5K because of the stamp duty. It's soft furnishings, a bed for DS2 (who has a built-in one we can't take with us), a holiday and a second-hand van...

But it's early days for the vendor, she hasn't yet found something she wants to buy, she's in no hurry... My instincts tell me that if I hold out for £125k, she'll say 'no' at this point. I might still get the house in the end, but I doubt I'll be in for summer, and I would like to be... The question is, do I want that enough to make another offer half way...

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