How to make an offer that you can live with


When you’re trying to buy a property abroad, there’s a lot to think about. Raising the cash, getting a mortgage, finding an agent you trust and of course finding a property that you like in your price bracket and location. This may take a few trips back and forth – or you may find THE one on your first visit to the country.

Once you’ve found and viewed the property and made an offer, then there is the wait to see if it will be accepted.

Potential stress-fest?

It doesn’t have to be. If you and your agent have a clear strategy, you give yourself every chance of success (and a good night’s sleep).

When it comes to making an offer, it’s worth remembering that if you like a property that’s for sale, it’s almost certain that at least another client or clients will also be keen. 

That means you’re in a competition. Having an agent who has a plan can help put you in pole position to win.

Here are the core elements of our strategy for success when we help clients make their offers.

Get a ‘mortgage in principle’

We can not stress this enough! If you are thinking about using finance to help purchase your property get things in place with this first rather than waiting until you have found the property of your dreams. A mortgage in principle confirms to the seller, and us, that you deserve to be taken seriously as a potential buyer.

A mortgage in principle is a statement from the bank – we can recommend the best banks to use for proactive and professional service – that says it is willing to lend you a certain amount of money, so you can show that you can afford the property and that the transaction has every chance of proceeding smoothly.


A mortgage in principle is based on your financial situation and usually lasts for between two and three months. After that, the lender will probably want to check nothing major has changed with your financial situation.

Put in a realistic offer

There’s a fine art to making an offer on a property. Too high and you risk paying more than you need. Too low and you might be beaten to the prize by another buyer.

So how do you work out what your offer should be?

Talk to us. We are professionals who understand the local market better than anyone, we know what a realistic price would be. Let us guide you through the minefield of getting the best price for your dream home.

Give yourself some room to negotiate

OK, so you’ve done your research, chatted to us and made what you believe is a reasonable offer for the property.


The next thing that you will hear is whether your offer has been accepted or not.

If it hasn’t, you can decide whether or not to increase it – provided, of course, you’ve got the funds available to pay a higher asking price. If you don’t want to or can’t increase your offer, you negotiate. There are a few lines we can go down – is furniture included, can you close quickly, if you are buying a second or holiday home in the sun the chances are that you are not in a chain – you aren’t relying on a property to sell – and this can be very attractive to a vendor if they are looking for a quick sale. In fact, escaping the constrictions of a property chain might be attractive enough for the vendor to tell us to accept a lower offer than one from someone who is in a chain. It’s certainly worth pushing this point if you are at, or close to, the upper limit of your budget.

Get the property taken off the market

Once your offer is accepted we will ask you to send a reservation fee over to your lawyer. This allows us to take the property off the market. There’s nothing legally binding about making or accepting an offer, so if another buyer arrives on the scene and improves on your offer, the seller is able to accept it.

That’s known as gazumping. However, once the reservation fee has been sent to the lawyers no further viewings or offers can be made, so make sure you have your reservation fee (€6,000) ready to go as soon as we let you know your offer has been accepted by the vendor.

Make sure you speak to us about your property search – we have over 50 years of experience in buying and selling property in the Algarve – we can help you through the whole process –