What to Expect when Making an Offer

Finding a house in your price range that also meets your non-negotiable requirements is an exciting step in the home buying journey. We love hearing our clients say, “This is THE house!”

Once you have found your home, the ability to make timely decisions is essential in getting your offer presented and accepted by the seller. Being prepared for the steps to make a legal offer will help you tremendously when you find a home you love – especially if you are buying during a busy seller’s market.

  • Review specifics of house and property. It’s easy to get swept away during a walkthrough, especially if a home has been professionally staged. Take the time to review specifics of the house, including property lines, taxes, utility services, details on what the seller is taking and leaving behind, and HOA rules (if applicable) that come with buying the property.
  • Get your pre-approval letter. If you have been working closely with a mortgage professional and have prepared for pre-approval, this step will be easy and should happen quickly. You will need a letter from your lender stating you are pre-approved for the specific property you want to purchase.
  • Determine your price. A seller has set the listing price, but depending on the market, you do not have to stick to that number. Working closely with your buyer’s agent, review comparable sales in the area and prepare a price you are comfortable with. Your buyer’s agent will also help you determine how quickly you need to act in a competitive market.
  • Discuss contingencies. As your Realtor prepares the written contract, you will need to include any contingencies you have, which will allow you to get out of the binding document legally should issues arise. Contingencies can include:
    • Home Inspection Contingency
    • Appraisal Contingency
    • Financing Contingency
    • Clear Title Contingency
    • Home Sale Contingency
  • Make a deposit. To show that you are making a serious offer, you need to deposit earnest money into escrow in addition to a written contract. This lets the seller know that you are ready to move forward.
  • Be prepared to negotiate. Your written offer will have an expiration, which can range from hours to a few days upon receipt. Understand that sellers will take that time to review the price, contingencies, and many times will make a counteroffer. Your agent will be in communication with you and will handle the negotiations on your behalf.

A written offer is a legal contract and is not accepted until both parties have signed the document. Once signed, this doesn’t mean negotiations are complete. The next steps of the home buying journey include the home inspection, appraisal, and finalizing your mortgage financing with your lender.

Are you ready to start looking for your next home?

Find a Buyer's Agent!