Making an offer

Who is this page for?

If you’re a first time buyer or want a refresher before your next house move, this page is for you.

Our step by step guide will take you through the process of making an offer on a property and cover all the questions and scenarios you may face along the way.   

Making an offer on a house

Making an offer on a house can be an exciting time. But once you’ve found your dream home, there are still a few key steps to go through and things to find out before you make an offer.

We guide you through everything from negotiating with the seller to figuring out what questions to ask when buying a house. 

Questions to ask when buying a house

A house is more than just bricks and mortar – there’s a lot of behind the scenes information that can impact the value of a property. Before you make your offer, you may want to consider: 

  • Local transportation options
  • How close it is to your work
  • Local schools
  • Local places of worship
  • Level of investment in the local area
  • Planned infrastructure changes
  • Flooding or subsidence issues

If you need a little more information, sit down with your estate agent with a list of questions. Here are a few to get you started: 

  • Are there any known issues with the property?
  • What are the neighbours and the local community like?
  • Why is the current owner selling?
  • How long has the property been on the market?
  • How much interest has there been in the property?
  • Have there been any offers and are they under or over the asking price?

If you can gather all the above information, it’ll not only let you know if the price is right but also whether this is the right property for you – and how much you’ll be willing to offer for it. 

Applying for a mortgage Agreement in Principle

If you’ve found a home that ticks all your boxes, the next step is to make sure you’ve got the money to buy it. Most people use a mortgage to help with the cost.

Before you start your full mortgage application, you’ll need a mortgage Agreement in Principle.

For more information on getting a mortgage in principle and what kind of documents you’ll need, go to our mortgage Agreement in Principle guide.

Making an offer above or below the asking price

There’s plenty to consider when making an offer for a house – such as do you go above or below the asking price?

Whether a property sells for more or less than it’s on the market for comes down to a lot of factors – popularity with buyers is a major one. The more people who want it, the more likely that there’s someone willing to pay over the odds for it.

At the other end of the scale, a seller might accept lower than the asking price if a property hasn’t had much interest or has been on the market for a number of months.

Negotiating on the asking price is a common step when making an offer on a house. You may consider offering less than the asking price for several reasons, such as:

  • The house needs work
  • It’s been on the market for a long time
  • There have been no other viewings or offers recently
  • The owner is looking to sell quickly
  • It has a short lease

Should you enter a bidding war with other interested buyers, you’ll often be asked to submit best and final offers – without knowing what the other parties have bid. A best and final offer is the maximum amount you would be willing and able to pay for that property.

Be careful when making a bid and be sure not to exceed the amount stated in the Agreement in Principle. Lenders lend on what the property is worth, not what it was sold for. 

What happens after your offer is accepted?

Having your offer accepted is a wonderful feeling. But there a few hurdles you need to clear before the house is yours.

Once the property has been taken off the market, the next steps are usually to:

  1. Find the mortgage deal that’s right for you
  2. Ensure you have all the necessary paperwork to apply for a mortgage application
  3. Get a valuation to work out how much the house is worth
  4. Arrange with your conveyancer to perform the legal work
  5. Pay your deposit to your conveyancer upon exchange of contracts
  6. Your lender will transfer the funds on completion day – this is when you’ll get the keys to your new home

How long after your mortgage offer to exchange of contracts?

Once you’ve had your offer accepted and a mortgage offer agreed, the next stage is the exchange of contracts. On average, this can take anywhere from a week to a month to take place.

How long this takes can vary depending on your circumstances and whether you’re buying a house or flat that’s part of a property chain.

Once contracts have been exchanged, the buyer is legally obliged to purchase the property.

What’s a completion date?

The completion date is the day the ownership of the property is transferred from the seller to you – and you can move in. Usually, a completion date will involve the following:

  • Legal checks
  • Transfer of Certificate of Title
  • Transfer of funds – this can take a few hours

If everything goes according to plan you should get the keys to the property. Most of this goes on behind the scenes with little input needed, but it can involve a lot of waiting around.

It’s also worth noting that the full price of the property must have been paid at this stage. Once everything has gone through you’ve been given the keys, you can start moving in. 

The content on this page is for reference and does not constitute finance advice.

For impartial financial advice, we recommend government bodies like the MoneyHelper.

Calculators & tools

We have a range of mortgage calculators to help you:

  • Find out how much you could borrow from Lloyds Bank
  • See how much you could save if you make overpayments on your mortgage
  • Get an idea how a change to the Bank of England Base Rate could effect your monthly payments

Use our mortgage calculator and tools >

Need to speak with someone?

You can talk to us over the phone or use our mortgage video service from the comfort of your own home.

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