Making an Offer

SO YOU FOUND A HOME YOU LOVE….                                            

Writing the Offer

Negotiating the transaction can be complex when buying a home. At the same time, it’s the one that can involve the most creativity. As the buyer, It’s important that you not give yourself away to the listing agent by getting too excited about your “find”. If anything ask a few questions,maybe take a few notes, and let your REALTOR® do most of the talking.   That said, you want to present yourself as a serious buyer while, keep our emotions in check try to understand and respect the priorities of the seller, and most importantly be flexible and creative to get the deal done. 

Know the Contract

Once the seller accepts your offer, the Purchase Agreement becomes a legally binding offer between you and the seller. Your agent should explain the purchase contract thoroughly.  Ask for a copy beforehand, so you can read it and ask any questions. Preferably, they have given you a sample contract and C.A.R.’s “Guide to the Purchase Agreement.  

Deciding on a Price

To make a good offer on a house, you and your agent will need to look at recent comparable sales in the area. By examining things like size, location and purchase price, your agent should be able to give a fairly accurate determination of a home’s fair market value. So you’ve arrived at what you and your agent think is a fair price. Next, your agent will help you submit an offer. In a typical real estate transaction, negotiation is the name of the game. Know this: price, closing dates, financing, appliances, repairs, cost and more are all negotiable items in the sale of a home.  

Consider the seller's reasons for selling

While a home’s sale price is generally the focus of negotiations, often sellers will have needs such that the terms of purchase can significantly influence the final deal. Additionally, it is in relation to the terms – which can represent thousands of dollars in value – where you can get most creative when it comes to resolving the obstacles to transacting. Here are some elements in the purchase agreement that you might put on the table for discussion:  

  • An all-cash offer by you 
  • The amount of earnest money deposit you provide    
  • Closing and Possession Dates    
  • Inclusion of furniture, fixtures, etc., not considered part of the property 
  • Payment for repairs required by your lender     
  • Payment of taxes, utilities and rents 
  • Payment of title search and insurance   
  • Payment of survey, transfer and recording fees
  • Payment of general and termite inspections    

Submitting the Offer

Once your offer is submitted, the seller has a period of time within which to respond, anywhere between 24 and 72 hours. They can then choose to do 3 things:    

  • Accept the offer outright (Rarely happens!)
  • Ignore the offer until it expires  (Especially if you made a ‘lowball’ offer and insulted then completely!) 
  • Make a counteroffer (if there are multiple offers, they may make multiple counteroffers (to more than one person).

If your offer is accepted, that’s great! Get ready to go into escrow. If your offer is left to expire, you may want to have your real estate agent contact the owner’s agent and get a feel for the seriousness of the seller. If you get a counteroffer, know that the seller is looking to deal. If you like the terms of the counteroffer, accept them. If things are still not to your liking, make your own counteroffer. It is common to go back and forth several times in the purchase of a home, so don’t let it get you down! The reality is that most negotiations proceed without much problem. In the event that there are difficulties but you’re committed to buying the home, remember: where there is a will there is a way.