Making / accepting an offer

The information in this guide was last updated on 26/02/2014

Making an offer in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Once you’ve found the property you want, you need to put in a subject to survey offer to the seller or the estate agent.

You’ll sometimes be asked to pay a deposit to the seller or estate agent to show your commitment to buying a property. This will normally range from £500 to £1,000 and is usually repayable if the sale falls through.

You can withdraw if you change your mind or aren’t happy with the survey.

Making an offer in Scotland

Solicitors in Scotland play a greater role in property buying and selling. Most are also estate agents, and if you want to buy a property in Scotland, you’ll need a Scottish solicitor.

Sellers must provide a Home Report Pack that contains information such as Council Tax banding, energy efficiency ratings, a survey and valuation.

You make your offer through the solicitor, saying what price you want to pay and when you want to move in. This is followed by negotiation and when both parties reach an agreement, neither side can withdraw without paying compensation.

Other guides you may like...

Accepting an offer in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Should you accept?

Once you’ve received an offer, give it careful consideration. Is it what you were hoping for or is there room for negotiation?

Also, think about the position of the buyers. Do they seem genuine? Are they chain-free? Do they want to move quickly?

Even if you accept an offer, there’s nothing to stop you changing your mind and accepting a higher offer from someone else, although some people would consider this morally questionable.

If you’ve received two or more offers, you can settle for the highest one from the safest buyer. However, if your home has been on the market for some time with little interest, you may want to consider offers below the asking price.

Offers are usually made subject to survey, so will only stand provided the survey doesn’t reveal any major issues.

Accepting an offer in Scotland

Offers are made through your solicitor or estate agent.

If two or more people want to buy your property, the solicitor will set a closing date and the interested parties will submit sealed offers.

The offers will detail what the buyer wants to pay and the date they want to move in.

This is followed by written negotiation conducted by the solicitors. When agreement has been reached, the final document is a binding contract and neither side can withdraw without paying compensation.

After you move...

Once you do move, let people know about your change of address as soon as possible. To avoid missing any important mail in the interim it may be worth setting up a mail forwarding service with the Royal Mail

Don't forget to make sure all your details held with Nationwide are updated - see How to change your address or phone number and Changing your details held for insurance and investment products.