Making an Offer

Home ownership starts with an "Offer to Purchase", which is a document telling the Seller the terms under which you are willing to buy their home!  Writing an offer is an exciting process, as it's usually the result of looking at several homes and finding one that you would love to own.

Your Realtor will prepare the offer to purchase, with a lot of information you will provide. 

Things to think about before "writing an offer":

  • How much are you willing to pay for the home?  Quite often, Buyers start with the lowest offer they think they Sellers might take.  It's usually better not to make an offer that Sellers wlll consider ridiculous, as this sets a sour tone for the negotiations.  Sellers will often expect that you are willing to pay a little more than your first offer.
  • When do you want to take possession?  30-45 days from date of acceptance is common.  It's best to know whether the Seller would like to move very quickly, or needs time to find and purchase another home.
  • What do you want the Seller to leave in the home?  Appliances, the pool table, swing set, etc.?  You have to be careful about this, as your lender may not want you to include a lot of things that could later be removed from the home -- decreasing its value.
  • Do you want the Seller to purchase a one-year home warranty for you?
  • Do you want the Seller to pay any of your closing costs and prepaid expenses for you?  Sometimes Buyers who are a little short on cash will request this, and inflate their purchase price a little to offer the Seller the same "bottom line".  Other times, the Buyers may simply wish to preserve their cash to make changes to the home.
  • How will you be paying for the home?  Sellers love cash deals, as there's no chance that a lender will kill the deal by refusing a mortgage -- and cash deals can close very quickly.  Most people will need a mortgage loan, and the Seller will want to know what type of loan you plan to use and how much your "down payment" will be.  The more money a Buyer has to put down, the happier the Seller and Lender will be!  We can explain this in more detail if you are interested.
  • Special Conditions - This is the place in the offer where you will mention anything else you may want the seller to do, leave, pay for, or other special requests.

Seller's Response

When the Sellers receive your offer, they can do one of these things:

1) Accept it.

2) "Counter" it, meaning they are willing to sell under different terms.  This is the most common response to a first offer, as it may take a couple of days to get to a price and terms which are acceptable to both parties.

3) Reject it, or

4) Allow it to expire. 

Sellers almost never do the last two -- once they know you are interested, most Sellers will work with you to establish price and terms which work for both parties. When a Seller counters your original offer to purchase, you may accept that counter offer or write another counter to it, and so on.  You don't have a binding contract until both parties have signed the exact same terms and conditions. AND, you nay withdraw an offer or counter offer once you have made it -- provided the other side hasn't accepted it yet.

Remember that there are two sides to every transaction, and the best transactions are usually "win-win" for both sides.

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