The asking price on a property should already reflect any serious refurbishments requiring major investment that the property requires, but the seller may still be open to offers. So if you have found the property of your dreams, it's always worth putting forward a realistic offer to the agent.

Once you've found a property that you'd like to buy and you have decided what you are prepared to pay (bearing in mind what you will need to spend on any repairs, renovations or redecorations) the next step is to contact the estate agent marketing the property and make your offer.

It is a legal obligation for estate agents to forward to the seller every offer that they receive from potential purchasers and it is always the sellers decision which offer to accept. If demand for the property is high, i.e. if several applicants are interested in the same property, this puts the seller in a stronger position and they may be more likely to hold out for the asking price or it may even mean that offers are made over the asking price. However, the highest offer is not always necessarily the "best" offer and sellers may also take into account the buyer's situation and how quickly or how flexible their moving timescale is, as well as their ability to buy.

At Atkinson Keene, all offers received are also qualified by our independent financial adviser who will contact the prospective buyer to ensure they have the appropriate funds to purchase the property. This means that our client sellers can be assured that applicants are indeed ready, willing and able purchasers. It's also a good idea at this stage to have the details of your solicitor or conveyancer ready to give to the agent. If you haven't found legal representation, we can provide you with details of local law firms or provide you with a free, no obligation quotation from an online solicitor, which may compare favourably in cost to a traditional solicitor.

Once your offer is accepted, this will be confirmed by the agent in a "Memorandum of Sale" which also includes further information relating to the sale, such as; details of both the seller and the purchaser and their respective legal representation, confirmation of the sale price and the tenure of the property (whether it is freehold or leasehold). It may also provide an approximate date for exchange of contracts.

When you have instructed your legal representative and finalised your mortgage arrangements, you can then also arrange a structural survey to be carried out if required (we can also recommend experienced and trusted surveying firms if you haven't found one).

Bear in mind that in the UK, the making and accepting of an offer is not a legally binding process and neither party is actually committed to the purchase/sale of the property until contracts have been exchanged. Whilst this can lead to frustrations and possibly loss of expenses, it also means that either party can pull out of the transaction up until the point of exchange if problems arise during the conveyancing process such as an unexpected problem is highlighted during the survey or solicitors searches. It is for this reason, that we provide a full sales progression service so that a dedicated team member can track each step of the conveyancing process and will liaise with all parties to oversee the transaction from "under offer" to "completion."

If you would like any further information or wish to speak to anyone regarding either mortgage advice or recommendations for solicitors or surveyors on the purchase of your next property, please call the sales team at Atkinson Keene on Tel: 01635 45688