Making an offer
Once you have found a property you would like to buy, the next step is to make an offer, normally through the estate agent. Most sellers build a certain amount of leeway into their price, so it is usual to offer less than the seller is asking, but this all depends on how competitive the market is and if other people are interested.
In deciding what you are prepared to pay, bear in mind things like the property's state of repair and how much you would have to spend on building work or redecoration.
Your first offer might be up to 10% below the asking price. It is then up to the seller to either accept that price, or try to negotiate a higher one. If there are several potential buyers interested in that particular property, the vendor may have enough bargaining power to insist that his or her full asking price is met. Indeed, in a strong market, the property may sell for a price in excess of the asking price!
If you know that many people will be interested in the property (perhaps because good properties of that type are scarce in the market), and you are very keen on it, you might consider offering the asking price up front to avoid a 'bidding' war.
Once your offer has been accepted, the estate agent will confirm this in writing. You can then go ahead with arranging a survey and finalising your mortgage arrangements. The acceptance of your offer is not legally binding until you and the seller exchange contracts.