Buying Process

Making an offer on a house can be an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience, especially if it’s your first time. It is important to make a well-informed and reasonable offer that is in line with your budget and the market conditions. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you make a successful offer on a house.

What does making an offer mean?

Making an offer on a property means that you are submitting a written proposal to the seller or their agent to purchase their property at a specified price, under certain conditions. It’s important to note that an offer is not legally binding until it is accepted by the seller.

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you make a successful offer on a house.

1. Get Finance Pre-Approved

Before making an offer on a property, it’s essential to get pre-approved for finance from a lender. This involves submitting a mortgage application to a lender, who will review your financial information to determine how much money they are willing to lend you. Being pre-approved for finance shows the seller that you are a serious buyer who has the financial means to make the purchase.

2. Get legal advice

It’s essential to obtain legal advice from a licensed conveyancer or solicitor before making an offer on a property. They can review the sale contract, identify any potential issues, and advise you on your legal obligations and rights. They will also provide guidance on any special conditions you may want to include in your offer.

3. Research similar properties

Before making an offer, it’s crucial to research similar properties in the area to determine the current market value. You can use online real estate platforms or attend property auctions to gather information on recent sales and current market conditions. This will give you a better idea of what the property is worth and help you make an informed offer.

4. Attend the first open for Inspection

Attending the first open inspection is a great way to get a feel for the property and its surroundings. It also allows you to ask the seller or their agent any questions you may have about the property. During the inspection, take note of any repairs or upgrades that the property may require, as this will factor into your offer.

5. Decide on offer and conditions

Once you have inspected the property and obtained legal and financial advice, you can decide on the offer and conditions you want to make. Your offer should take into consideration the current market conditions, the condition of the property, and any repairs or upgrades required. It’s important to be realistic in your offer, as offering too low may result in the seller rejecting your offer or entertaining other buyers.

6. Put offer in early

Putting your offer in early is important as it can demonstrate your interest and seriousness to the seller. It also allows you to get ahead of any potential competing buyers. If you are interested in the property, don’t wait too long to make an offer as it may be sold to another buyer.

7. Offer your best price

It’s generally recommended to offer your best price upfront, as this can show the seller that you are serious about purchasing the property. Offering a lower price may result in the seller rejecting your offer or entertaining other buyers. If you are in a competitive market, offering your best price can also help you stand out from other buyers.

8. Pay the deposit

If your offer is accepted by the seller, you will need to pay a deposit, which is typically 5-10% of the purchase price. This deposit is held in a trust account until settlement and forms part of the final purchase price. It’s important to note that the deposit is non-refundable if you do not proceed with the purchase, so make sure you are committed to the sale before paying the deposit.

9. Get a response from the vendor

The seller may accept, reject or counter your offer. If your offer is accepted, it will form a legally binding contract for the purchase of the property. If your offer is rejected, you can revise your offer or move on to another property. If the seller counters your offer, you can negotiate the terms until an agreement


How much should I offer? Can I offer less than the asking price?

The amount you should offer on a property will depend on various factors, such as the current market conditions, the condition of the property, and the level of interest from other buyers. It’s possible to offer less than the asking price, but it’s important to be realistic and considerate when making an offer. Offering too low may result in the seller rejecting your offer or entertaining other buyers.

When can I make an offer on a house?

You can make an offer on a house at any time, but it’s generally recommended to do so as soon as possible to avoid missing out on the property. If you are interested in a property, it’s a good idea to attend the first open inspection and submit your offer soon after, as this can demonstrate your interest and seriousness to the seller.

If I change my mind, can I rescind or withdraw my offer?

If you have made an offer on a property and then change your mind, you may be able to withdraw or rescind your offer, but this will depend on the circumstances and the terms of your offer. If your offer has not yet been accepted by the seller, you may be able to withdraw your offer without penalty. However, if your offer has been accepted and forms part of a legally binding contract, it may be more difficult to withdraw without incurring penalties or legal consequences. It’s important to consult with a legal professional before taking any action to withdraw or rescind an offer.

What if I want to include special conditions in my offer?

If you have any special conditions you want to include in your offer, such as a longer settlement period or a building inspection, you can include these in your offer. It’s important to discuss any special conditions with your legal advisor before making an offer, as these can impact the terms of the contract and your legal obligations. The seller may also have their own conditions or preferences, so it’s important to negotiate these before finalising the contract.

Participating in a real estate auction can be an exhilarating experience, especially for first-time home buyers. Understanding the auction process and knowing how to effectively bid can greatly increase your chances of securing your dream property. In this guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of bidding at an auction to help you navigate this exciting opportunity with confidence. So, let’s delve into the details!

1. Pre-Auction Preparation

  1. Research: Thoroughly research the property you are interested in. Study recent sales data, comparable properties, and market trends to understand its current market value. Additionally, investigate the neighbourhood’s amenities, schools, transportation, and any future developments that might affect property values.


  2. Set a Budget: Determine your maximum budget, taking into account not only the property’s purchase price but also additional costs such as stamp duty, legal fees, inspection costs, and potential renovations or repairs. Make sure you have secured your financing or pre-approval to have a clear understanding of your purchasing power.


  3. Attend Auctions as an Observer: Before bidding, attend a few auctions as an observer to familiarise yourself with the process. Observe bidding strategies employed by successful bidders and pay attention to the auctioneer’s style, tactics, and the overall atmosphere of the event. This will help you feel more comfortable when it’s your turn to bid.

2. Auction Day Preparation

  1. Arrive Early: Arriving early allows you to review any last-minute updates or changes to the auction proceedings. It also gives you an opportunity to gauge the competition and potential bidders. Take note of other interested parties and their level of interest, which may influence your bidding strategy.

  2. Obtain a Copy of the Contract: Request a copy of the auction contract from the selling agent or the auctioneer before the auction begins. Carefully review the terms and conditions, including any special clauses, disclosures, or contingencies. If you have any concerns or questions, consult a solicitor or conveyancer for professional advice

  3. Seek Legal Advice: Engaging a solicitor or conveyancer before the auction can provide you with valuable guidance and ensure you understand your rights and obligations. They can review the contract, advise on any potential legal issues, and help you make informed decisions.

3. Setting Your Bidding Strategy

  1. Determine Your Opening Bid: Set a realistic opening bid that is within your budget but also reflective of the property’s market value. Your opening bid should make a strong impression while not overly inflating the price right from the start. It’s essential to strike a balance between expressing your interest and not intimidating other potential bidders.

  2. Incremental Bidding: Decide on the increment you will use for subsequent bids. While the auctioneer will typically suggest incremental bidding amounts, consider bidding in increments that are higher than their suggestions. This demonstrates confidence and can discourage other bidders from raising their bids. Additionally, try to vary your increments rather than bidding the same amount every time.

  3. Establish Your Limit: Before the auction begins, determine your absolute maximum bid and stick to it. Avoid getting caught up in the excitement of the auction and going beyond your predetermined budget. Remember that there will be other opportunities if you don’t secure this particular property.

4. During the Auction

  1. Positioning: Position yourself close to the auctioneer to be clearly visible and make it easier for the auctioneer to spot your bids. Stand confidently and make eye contact with the auctioneer to ensure your bids are acknowledged. Being noticeable can also deter other bidders who may be intimidated by your presence.

  2. Bidding Tactics: Start bidding confidently with a clear voice and a firm hand gesture. State your bid clearly and assertively to avoid any confusion. Monitor your competition closely and be prepared to adapt your bidding strategy if necessary. Consider using odd bid amounts, such as $1,001 or $5,007, as they may psychologically discourage other bidders and give you a competitive edge.

  3. Stay Calm and Composed: It’s natural to feel a surge of adrenaline during the auction, but it’s crucial to stay calm and composed. Do not let emotions influence your bidding decisions. Stay focused on your predetermined budget and bidding strategy. Keep an eye on other bidders without getting distracted, and avoid engaging in unnecessary bidding wars that may exceed your limit.

  4. Be Mindful of Auctioneer Signals: Pay close attention to the auctioneer’s gestures, body language, and verbal cues. The auctioneer may use various techniques to encourage bidding, such as vendor bids or referring to the property as “on the market.” Understand the significance of these signals and be prepared to respond accordingly. If the auctioneer announces that the property is “on the market,” it means the reserve price has been reached, and the property will be sold to the highest bidder.

  5. Don’t Reveal Your Limit: Avoid revealing your maximum bidding limit to other bidders or the auctioneer. This information may be used against you to drive up the price. Maintain a poker face and keep your limit confidential.

5. Winning the Auction

  1. Celebrate Responsibly: If you are the winning bidder, congratulations! Take a moment to celebrate your success. However, remember that winning the auction comes with responsibilities. Be prepared to immediately sign the contract and pay the required deposit as outlined in the auction terms. Ensure you have the necessary funds available or have made appropriate financing arrangements.

  2. Unsuccessful Bidders: If you are not the winning bidder, do not be disheartened. Remember that there will always be other opportunities. Take the experience as a learning opportunity to analyse your bidding strategy and identify areas for improvement. Reflect on the final selling price and consider whether it aligns with your budget and expectations.


Bidding at an auction can be a thrilling and rewarding experience for first-time home buyers. By thoroughly preparing before the auction, setting a clear bidding strategy, and staying calm and focused during the auction, you can increase your chances of securing your dream property at a competitive price. Remember to conduct thorough research, seek professional advice when needed, and always adhere to your predetermined budget. Good luck with your auction bidding journey!

As first-time home buyers, it’s essential to understand the concept of cooling-off periods when entering into a property purchase. Cooling-off periods provide buyers with a specific timeframe to reconsider their decision and withdraw from the contract if necessary. In this detailed guide, we will walk you through the ins and outs of cooling-off periods, explaining their purpose, how they work, and the key considerations for first-time home buyers in Canberra ACT. Let’s dive in!

Understanding Cooling-off Periods

  1. Definition: A cooling-off period is a designated time frame, typically lasting a few business days, during which a buyer can legally terminate a contract for the purchase of a property without incurring significant penalties or forfeiting their deposit.

  2. Purpose: Cooling-off periods are designed to protect buyers by providing them with an opportunity to assess the property, seek professional advice, and reconsider their decision before fully committing to the purchase.

Cooling-off Periods in Canberra ACT

  1. Legislation and Requirements: In Canberra ACT, cooling-off periods generally do not apply to auctions. However, if you are purchasing a property through private treaty (private sale), cooling-off periods are typically applicable.

  2. Duration: The cooling-off period in Canberra ACT is usually five business days, starting from the date the buyer or their representative receives a copy of the signed contract of sale.

  3. Exemptions: Certain circumstances may exempt a property from the cooling-off period, such as contracts formed due to a prior auction, contracts signed in the presence of a solicitor or conveyancer, or contracts where the buyer waives their right to a cooling-off period.

Navigating the Cooling-off Period

  1. Contract Review: During the cooling-off period, thoroughly review the contract of sale, including all terms, conditions, and special clauses. Seek legal advice if needed to ensure you understand the implications and obligations associated with the contract.

  2. Property Inspection and Due Diligence: Utilise the cooling-off period to conduct necessary inspections, such as building and pest inspections, to assess the property’s condition. Engage professionals who can provide comprehensive reports, which may influence your decision to proceed or withdraw from the contract.

  3. Financial Considerations: Use the cooling-off period to confirm your financing arrangements and ensure you are comfortable with the financial commitment associated with the property purchase. Consult with mortgage brokers or lenders to finalise your loan approval and understand any potential risks or implications.

Exercising Your Cooling-off Rights

  1. Notification Process: If you decide to withdraw from the contract within the cooling-off period, you must provide written notice to the seller or their representative. Ensure the notice is delivered within the specified timeframe and adhere to any specific requirements outlined in the contract.

  2. Cooling-off Period Termination Fees: Although you can withdraw from the contract during the cooling-off period, be aware that you may be required to pay a termination fee, typically a small percentage of the purchase price. Familiarise yourself with the specific termination fee outlined in the contract.

  3. Seek Legal Advice: If you are considering exercising your cooling-off rights, it’s advisable to consult a solicitor or conveyancer who specialises in property law. They can guide you through the process, explain the legal implications, and ensure all necessary steps are followed correctly.


Cooling-off periods provide an important safety net for first-time home buyers, allowing them to reconsider their decision and withdraw from a property purchase if necessary. By understanding the purpose and regulations surrounding cooling-off periods, and by utilising the allocated time wisely, you can make informed decisions and protect your interests as you embark on your home-buying journey

Buying your first home is an exciting milestone, but it’s essential to approach the process with careful consideration and avoid common pitfalls. Here are the errors to steer clear of when purchasing your first home:

Making Emotional Offers

It’s crucial to base your offers on sound financial judgement rather than emotions. Avoid getting emotionally attached to a property and overpaying for it. Conduct thorough research to determine its market value and make an informed offer that aligns with your budget.

Getting Caught up in Auction Emotions

Auctions can be fast-paced and emotionally charged. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and exceed your budget. Set a strict bidding limit and stick to it. Don’t allow the competitive atmosphere to influence you into overcommitting financially.

Lack of Pre-Approval

Before participating in an auction, obtain pre-approval for a mortgage. Without pre-approval, you may not have a clear understanding of your purchasing power or the confidence to bid confidently. Pre-approval allows you to set a realistic budget and enhances your credibility as a buyer.

Failing to Review the Contract

Before bidding at an auction, it is essential to have the contract reviewed by a solicitor or conveyancer. They can identify any potential issues or unfavourable terms and provide you with advice to make an informed decision. Reviewing the contract helps you understand your obligations and protects your interests.

Inadequate Auction Preparation

Being ill-prepared for an auction can hinder your chances of success. Develop a well-thought-out bidding strategy that includes setting a maximum bid limit, deciding on bidding increments, and considering psychological tactics to discourage competitors. Additionally, conduct thorough market research to gain insights into recent sales, property values, and local market trends.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can approach the home buying process with confidence, make informed decisions, and increase your chances of securing the right property at a fair price. Remember to rely on financial judgement rather than emotions, seek professional advice, and be well-prepared for auctions.


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