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Making an offer

Make an offer

You've found the home that's right for you—one that fits your lifestyle and budget. Now it's time to sit down with your agent and write up an offer.

Things to consider when making an offer:

  • Condition of the home
  • Price of similar homes that are for sale or have sold recently
  • Local real estate market trends
  • How much the seller paid
  • Leave some room for negotiating on price
  • Let your agent guide you as to what’s a fair and competitive price

Watch this video to get some real-world advice from homeowners and real estate agents on how to make the best possible offer.

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What should I put in my offer?

Here are a few ideas about what to include in an offer. Work with your agent to nail down the specifics of yours.

  • What you’re willing to pay
  • Whether you’re prequalified or conditionally approved for a mortgage
  • Any conditions you want, like a home inspection
  • The expiration date of the offer
  • Earnest money (if applicable)
  • Any contingencies

Want to learn more about contingencies and earnest money? Keep reading.

Negotiating the price

Once you make an offer, the seller may come back with a counteroffer. Your real estate agent can help you decide whether to accept that offer, or if you want to make a new one. Keep in mind that negotiations can continue as you learn more about the home.

These are some items that might allow for negotiation on final sale price:

  • Whether the house has been on the market for a long time
  • Imperfections found during the home inspection
  • Repairs required based on the home inspection
  • Whether you or the seller will pay closing costs and other final expenses

What are contingencies? Should my offer include them?

Contingencies are conditions that must be met for the sale of a home to go through. While contingencies can protect you, keep in mind that the seller may prefer to accept an offer that doesn't contain a contingency.

Here are a few types of contingencies you might want to include in your offer:

What is earnest money? How does it work?

Earnest money is a deposit you put on the home before you enter a contract with the seller. It shows that your offer is serious, and that you're ready to buy. Earnest money is typically 1% to 5% of the home purchase price. Here's how earnest money works:

If the seller accepts your offer, the money goes toward your purchase or it's returned at closing.

If the seller rejects your offer, you get your money back.

If you back out after the seller accepts your offer, the seller keeps the earnest money.

Move on to choosing a loan

Take the first step and get prequalified

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