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Making an offer

This content applies to England & Wales

The first stage in the process of buying a home is to make an offer for the property.

An offer can be made orally or in writing, but should always include the words 'subject to survey and contract'. The offer is not binding and there is still room for negotiation over the price, particularly if a survey finds any faults with the property. Sellers may ask for a holding deposit (usually around £100), which is held by the estate agent or solicitor and is refunded if the sale falls through.

After making an offer, the prospective purchaser will need to approach a lender formally and complete an application for a mortgage loan. S/he will also have to pay the lender a fee for a valuation and/or structural survey of the property, and consult a solicitor about the legal side of the purchase. See Legal work: Buying a home for more details.

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