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& My home

Buying your first home 101: Offer and acceptance contracts

Heterosexual couple sitting on the couch across from a female real estate agent. The couple look happy and are signing a contract.

Once you’ve found the home of your dreams, it’s time to make an offer. Most properties are sold through an offer and acceptance (O&A) process, where you make a formal offer in writing and the owner/seller can either accept, reject, or make a counteroffer.

As a first home buyer, it’s good know the process you will go through before you put your first offer on the table. To help, we’ve pulled together the key steps involved in the O&A journey.

Knowing how much to offer

Knowing how much you should offer on a property requires research.

The first step you should take to work out what you will offer on a home, is to look through real estate websites. Look for similar properties that have recently sold in the area, find the median property value within the area, and view past sales of the property you’re looking at. This information will give you an idea of how much the home could be worth and what it might sell for to guide your offer.

Another option is to get a free property profile report for any property in WA from our website.

There are other costs you will need to think about when deciding how much you can afford to offer. These will be included in the total amount you spend on a property. Costs such as council and water rates, valuations, mortgage registration and Landgate fees. For a comprehensive list of home buying costs, read this article on our website.

Once you’ve done your research, you can use our handy Home Loan Borrowing Power Calculator to find out how much you can borrow for your first home.

Preparing to make an offer

It’s a good idea to get organised before you make an offer on a potential new home. The best way to do this is by getting a home loan pre-approval. In fast moving markets, real estate agents may ask you to have pre-approval before you make an offer. This gives the seller confidence you can go ahead with the purchase if they receive multiple offers. Read more on what’s involved in getting a home loan pre-approval.

Making a formal offer

Once you’re ready to make a formal offer, contact the real estate agent or the seller if it’s a private sale to let them know you’re ready to put pen to paper.

The agent or seller will provide you with an O&A form to complete (the contract), and that’s where you will confirm the amount you are offering for the property and any terms you would like in the contract.

Be prepared to negotiate at this stage, as the offer you put forward may not be what the seller is looking for. Know how much you can afford to spend and stick within your budget, even if this means walking away. Another opportunity will come up!

Acceptance

If the seller accepts your offer, they will sign the O&A document which means the offer has officially been accepted (exciting!). At this point, both the buyer and seller will need to satisfy the conditions outlined in the contract before the sale can be completed.

Next steps

Before you can finalise your new property purchase, you will need to hire a settlement agent to help you through the final steps of the home buying process.

You’ll then pay a deposit into a trust account as your commitment to the purchase, start your home loan application if you didn’t receive pre-approval, and organise building and termite inspections.

If you would like to know more, make sure you read our article on the home loan settlement process.

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