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Homes in Salem AL

How to Make an Offer on a House You Want

October 9, 2022

When it comes to house hunting, one of the most nerve-wracking times comes when you make an offer on a home. Will the sellers accept? Are there other offers? One way to better your chances is to be preapproved for a mortgage, so that sellers know the process is less likely to fall through. Another way is to use a Columbus GA real estate agent from Rose Anne Erickson Realty. We can work with you and the sellers to do our utmost to make sure you get the home you want at a  price you can afford.

You need to be clear before going in regarding what you’re willing to spend. Working with your agent, you should take into consideration various issues. How long has the home been on the market? The longer it’s on the market, the more willing the sellers may be to take a lower price. Look at the neighborhood and check the value of similar homes to see if the seller is asking more or less. If more, there should be an obvious reason or you will potentially be able to make an argument for a lower bid. Of course, when it’s a seller’s market, you may need to match the asking price, or even offer more, to make your offer stand out if you’re up against other offers. With the help of your agent, you can come up with a price that you are comfortable with and that has a chance of being accepted by the seller.

If your offer is accepted, you will need to put down earnest money to prove your willingness to follow through on the sale. This is usually 1 to 2% of the value of the home and comes out of your down payment. However, if you back out of the deal, you lose this money. When making an offer, you can also put forward that you’ll put down more earnest money to show just how serious you are about purchasing the home.

Of course, you don’t want to put money down and then find that the home is structurally unsound. That’s why offers also include contingencies to protect you and give you an out without losing your money. The most common contingencies are:

  • Inspection: If serious issues show up in the home inspection, you can renegotiate or walk away
  • Financing: While your preapproval letter from a lender means you’re likely to get a mortgage, it’s not a guarantee. Include a financing contingency if there’s any chance you won’t be able to get a mortgage.
  • Appraisal: As part of the mortgage deal, the lender will do their own appraisal and determine the value of the home. If it’s considerably lower than the selling price and affects your ability to purchase the home, including this contingency allows you to renegotiate or walk away.

When actually writing up your offer, especially in a seller’s market, you may want to personalize the offer by including your reasons for wanting the home and the things you really like about it to appeal to the seller. Your agent will ultimately craft the letter for you before you sign off on it.

You may be turned down in your offer, but this is why it’s best to use an agent. They are experienced in the offer/counter offer process and can often find a compromise that works for everyone. However, sometimes you won’t be able to come to an agreement, so be willing to move on and hope that you end up finding an even better house in the end.

By having a Columbus GA real estate agent working with you throughout the process, you have a better chance of finding an agreement while also making sure you’re protected in the process. We work closely with all of our clients to make sure their best interests are kept in mind throughout the search, offer, and final sale agreement. Contact us today if you’re ready to start your home search.

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This post was written by Rose Anne Erickson

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