Tips on making an offer
Don't appear overly enthusiastic
If the property ticks all the boxes, play down how much you like it for extra bargaining power.
Arrange a pre-purchase pest and building inspection
This may cost upwards of around $500, but it is a worthwhile investment. It could save you thousands of dollars in unexpected repair costs.
Only use the defects as a negotiating tool if you can genuinely afford to rectify the problems - otherwise, it's worth pushing the vendor to agree to have any defects addressed as part of the terms of the contract of sale.
Obtain a copy of the contract of sale
You can usually ask for this after one inspection - sometimes the real estate agent may even have these available at the open home.
Arrange for your solicitor/conveyancer to check the contract carefully - they're likely to have a much better understanding of the legalese and be able to translate this into jargon-free language for you.
You are bound by the contract once you sign it, so it pays to make sure you are comfortable with the terms set out within it.
Ready to make an offer?
Pitch your first offer below the price you're actually prepared to pay. Submit your offer in writing, specifying how much you are willing to pay and include any conditions you would like to be noted such as a time frame for moving in.
It may be accepted straight away, or what is more likely is that you'll need to start negotiating with the vendor - usually through the real estate agent. You may be asked to pay a small holding deposit and sign a copy of the contract.
Keep in mind, at this stage the seller can still exchange contracts with other buyers - and may even accept their offer over yours. If this happens, they'll need to refund you the holding deposit so you won't be out of pocket.
Secure your purchase
If your offer is accepted, and you've agreed on a price with the vendor, you'll need to pay the full deposit (usually 5-10% of the property purchase price) and ensure the contract is signed.
In some states and territories, and in some situations, this step tends to happen at the end of a cooling off period.
The cooling-off period is normally 5-10 days and provides you with the chance to arrange inspections to check the condition of the property, and also to make sure you have your finances in order.
If, during this time, you choose to withdraw your offer, you may lose your initial holding deposit.
Get ready for settlement
Once you've exchanged contracts, and the cooling-off period (where relevant) has ended, it's time to get your home loan finalised and prepare yourself for settlement.
Most of the heavy lifting at this stage tends to be completed by your lawyers and your mortgage broker, but you'll need to be available for reviewing and signing documents and providing any info needed by the lender.
Then, you can sit back and wait for the next stage - settlement day!