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First Home Buyers

How to make an offer

You’ve found a house that you love, and you’re ready to make an offer. The process may seem complicated, but once you understand what’s involved you’ll be confident in negotiating the best price for your new home. 

Is your dream home selling at auction? Check out our Top Tips - Buying at auction article to learn all the ins-and-outs.

Review the contract

The vendor (seller) must have a contract of sale prepared and available when they are offering a property for sale. This contract will include:

  • Zoning certificate from the local council
  • A copy of the title to the property as recorded in the Land Titles Office
  • Copies of documents outlining other registered interests over the property (if any)

It is a good idea to send the contract of sale to your solicitor or conveyancer for them to review.


Making an offer

After you are satisfied with the sale conditions you can make an offer on the property. It is best to put your offer in writing to the real estate agent, including any conditions such as finance, deposits, repairs, and your timeframe for moving in.

If you’re buying at auction, make sure you read our Top Tips - Buying at auction article.

Top Tops - Buying at auction


Your offer will be passed on to the vendor, giving them the chance to respond. The vendor may advise you that your offer isn’t enough, and ask if you want to submit a second offer. This is where researching negotiation tactics can pay off.

Exchanging contracts

Once you have agreed on a price with the vendor then it’s time to make it official and exchange contracts. You will need to pay the full deposit for the property, which is typically 10% of the purchase price, although you can negotiate a lower one. Your conveyancer will be able to help you through this process. 

Be aware that in South Australia you have legal responsibility and an interest in the property from the date the contracts are exchanged, which means you take on the risk. It could be a good idea to consider insurance, in case something happens to the property before you move in. At Credit Union SA we can help, because we can arrange Allianz Home Insurance for our members.

If you already have contents insurance then you should advise your current insurer of your new address and intention to move. Some home insurance policies include a short period of cover for contents at both the old and the new address during a move. Some also provide cover for damage to contents whilst they’re in transit to a new address – check with your insurer to see if these are included in your cover.

If you’re buying a unit you’ll need to organise a Certificate of Currency from the Body Corporate’s insurer, to ensure the property is adequately covered.


Cooling-off period 

After the contracts are signed and agreed to, you are entitled to a cooling-off period unless you have bought a property at auction. During the cooling-off period you can choose to cancel the contract for any reason you like. This is the time to undertake building and pest inspections and reassess whether it is the house you really want.


The settlement time is usually four to six weeks, but can be negotiated with the vendor. 

Credit Union SA Ltd ABN 36 087 651 232 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence Number 241066 arranges this insurance as agent for the insurer Allianz Australia Insurance Limited (Allianz) ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL 234708. We do not provide any advice based on any consideration of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Policy terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Before making a decision, please consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement available. If you purchase this insurance, we will receive a commission that is a percentage of the premium. Ask us for more details before we provide you with services.