Once you’ve found a home, your agent will help you write an offer.
An offer takes the form of a contract and specifies everything about the conveyance of the property. Then, your agent will present the offer to the listing agent who will present it to the owners.
How Much Should You Offer?
In writing an offer, some buyers are concerned about offering too much. They think that if their offer is accepted, that means they could have offered less and still gotten the house. Other buyers are concerned about making an offer that is too low. They’re afraid that the sellers will be insulted and will refuse to negotiate.
Our advice to you is to make an offer that reflects what the property is worth. The only way to find out what it’s worth is to compare it to other similar properties that have sold in the same neighborhood. Your Realtor will call that a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). For more information on how CMAs are written, please read this article.
What Other Information is in the Offer?
In addition to how much money you’re willing to offer for the home, there are other factorsthat are included in your offer and may impact the seller. One factor is the time frame. Your seller might want to close quickly or slowly to accommodate some event so your offer might be more appealing if you’re offering a flexible closing date. The type of financing you’re securing and the amount of your down payment are also important to your seller. They may feel more secure if your down payment is large or if your loan is a certain type.
You will also be asked to provide a check as earnest money. This is money, usually $1000, that indicates that you really intend to follow through with this contract as it is written if it is accepted by the seller. Of course, if the contract fails to be accepted, you will be refunded that money. If the sale gets to closing, this money will count as part of your down payment.
Your agent will present the offer to the sellers. Possibly, they’ll have you write a letter telling the sellers a little about yourself to make the offer more personal. Additionally, your agent may present the offer in person to negotiate on the spot, with your permission.
The seller will either accept the offer as written, make a counter offer, or simply say no. If they accept the offer as written, congratulations! You’re on your way to owning the home you’ve chosen! If they make a counter offer, then your agent will negotiate on your behalf to try to reach a meeting of the minds. If they say no, then you’re back to the drawing board.