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  • 21 Dec 2023
  • 7 min read
  • By a contributor

How to make an offer on a house

Making an offer, House sales

When you find your perfect house in Queensland – whether it’s a written offer for a Brisbane apartment or an offer for your coastal dream home – it's time to make an offer and take the first step towards home ownership.

But making an offer on a property is more complicated than a simply “Yes, we’ll buy it!” statement. It actually involves a number of steps to ensure a seamless transaction – start to finish. That’s why we created this guide to walk you through the process of making an offer on a house.

From understanding what making an offer actually means, to what might happen after your offer is submitted, here are the essentials to help you navigate this exciting stage of the process for potential buyers.

What does making an offer actually mean?

Making an offer on a house at a specific price and on specific conditions is what signals your intent to purchase the property at a specific price. It is the very first step on the long journey of negotiating a sale with the seller.

When you make an offer – whether it’s to a real estate agent or directly to the vendor – you are essentially presenting a proposal to buy the property under certain conditions. This includes:

  • the price
  • settlement terms
  • any other relevant terms you wish to include, such as removing fixtures or requesting that certain furnishings be part of the final sale price.

The offer should be made in writing to avoid any misunderstandings.

10 steps for how to make a house offer in Queensland

Research and preparation

Before making an offer, always make sure you do enough research on the property – beyond just its market value. Look at recent sales in the area as well as any specific Queensland market trends that may influence the offer. This gives you valuable insights that should ultimately help you make a more informed decision. Also settle on your budget (including your final, top-bid price) and establish your preferred price range to guide your negotiations.

Engage a conveyancer or solicitor

Seek out a conveyancer or solicitor who specialises in property transactions in Queensland to help guide you through the administrative processes, including meeting all the bank’s requirements. They will provide expert guidance throughout the process, review contracts, and ensure that your legal interests are protected. Their expertise will give you peace of mind during the transaction.

Inspect the property

Schedule an inspection for the property to assess its condition, features and any potential issues that may affect your offer. By inspecting the property in-person, you can get a firsthand look into how the property actually ‘feels’ and then make an informed decision about its value and suitability for your lifestyle.

Get pre-approval

It’s highly recommended that you get preapproval from your lender. This will help determine your true borrowing capacity and allow you to make a serious offer to the seller with the backing of your bank. Having preapproval strengthens your offer by showing that you have the means to finance the purchase. It also gives you a competitive advantage in an increasingly competitive Queensland market.

Determine your offer price

Based on your research, budget and in-person evaluation of the property, it’s time to settle on your offer price. Consider market conditions, recent comparable sales and the unique features of the home when deciding on a suitable amount. Make sure you are able to strike a balance between a fair offer and one that aligns with your budget and the property's value.

Consider additional terms

In addition to the offer price, you might want to include extra terms in your offer. These can include the desired settlement period, specific conditions such as a building inspection or finance or bank approval, and any inclusions or exclusions you wish to negotiate. Tailoring the offer to your needs can actually make it more attractive to the seller.

Prepare the written offer

Now it’s time to put your offer in writing. Clearly state the proposed purchase price, any conditions attached and relevant terms. Include your full name, contact details and the desired timeframe for a response from the seller. A well-drafted written offer demonstrates professionalism and ensures that the terms are clearly communicated.

Submit the offer

Deliver the written offer either to the vendor or their real estate agent. Make sure you retain a copy of the offer for your records as well. Submitting the offer promptly and through the appropriate channels ensures it reaches the seller in a timely manner, allowing them to consider and respond to your proposal.


The seller/vendor can respond to your offer in various ways. They may accept it, reject it outright or enter into a negotiation process. Be prepared for potential counter-offers; if this happens, always engage in open and transparent communication with the seller or their agent. Negotiation is a common part of the buying process and requires flexibility and patience to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

Contract exchange

The buyer will be provided with a draft contract for review. They should read the details carefully and provide to their solicitor for legal advice before signing. Once they sign the contract, it will go back to the seller to sign - when it will become binding. All dates calculated under the contract, including deposit payment, will be calculated from the date the contract is fully signed.

What happens after I make an offer on a house?


If the seller accepts your offer, congratulations! This is such an exciting moment – one that every potential home owner dreams about. As you have successfully secured the property, the next steps will involve finalising the contract and moving forward with the purchase process.

This includes hiring professionals to carry out inspections, most notably a building and pest inspection, to ensure the property's condition meets your expectations. You will also have to arrange for finance approval, finalise your home loan and work towards settlement with your conveyancer/solicitor, which is the ultimate transfer of ownership.


The seller has the right to reject your offer for any reason, but it’s usually because they believe the price doesn’t meet their expectations.

While it can be disappointing, it's important to understand that sellers have various reasons for rejecting an offer. Maybe they received a higher offer from another bidder – or even multiple offers from several parties – or they have different priorities from what you intend to do with the place (e.g. if you plan on knocking down the property to build townhouses on the land).

Whatever the reason, it’s up to you to decide whether to submit a revised offer that better aligns with the seller's expectations, or to continue your search for another suitable property.


If the seller presents a counteroffer, you will enter into a negotiation process where both parties (hopefully) work towards an agreement on both the asking price and terms. Negotiations typically work as a back-and-forth exchange of offers and counteroffers – until both parties reach a mutually acceptable outcome.

Throughout the negotiation process, you’ll want to keep the lines of communication open and transparent. Negotiation points from the vendor or their selling agent may include adjusting the asking price to become their preferred purchase price, settlement period, conditions or inclusions.

Be aware that negotiations can sometimes get drawn out. With patience and compromise, however, you will ideally reach a mutually satisfactory agreement. However, if negotiations reach an impasse or if the terms simply can’t be met, either party may choose to walk away and explore other options.

Can I withdraw my offer if I decide to change my mind?

In Queensland, you and other buyers generally have the right to withdraw your offer before it is accepted by the seller. However, once your offer is accepted, it becomes a legally binding contract, and withdrawing from the transaction can have legal and financial consequences (such as loss of deposit).

However, there is a five-business-day cooling off period that applies to residential sales contracts which takes effect on the day the buyer receives it. Certain conditions apply but essentially the buyer must sign the contract after the end of the fifth day.

It's important to carefully consider your decision before making an offer to avoid any complications. Always seek legal advice from a conveyancer or solicitor, especially if you find yourself in a situation where you need to withdraw an offer or sale contract.

Turning an attractive offer into an official sale

Making an offer on a home involves a prepared, strategic approach, as well as thorough research and careful consideration of what you truly want from the property. Just remember to seek professional advice, keep the lines of communication open with your seller and be prepared for negotiations, which can sometimes be drawn out.

The key to making an informed offer is an important milestone on your journey to becoming a homeowner, and with the right knowledge and guidance, you can become a serious buyer who now owns an incredible property.

Read more articles about property sales.

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