You’ve chosen your new neighborhood, looked at several homes for sale, and now you’ve found the perfect place. You can’t picture a better home for your new start, and you can already see yourself moving in. Before that can happen, though, you’ll need to make sure you can put together an offer that’s both fair for you and attractive to the seller.
Of course, the first step you must take before creating your offer is getting pre-approved for a mortgage (if you don’t intend to pay for the property in cash). A bid from a potential buyer who’s already secured financing will inevitably be more appealing than a bid from a buyer who has not done so. Sellers are simply more inclined to consider your offer when you can eliminate any doubts about your ability to pay for the home.
Additionally, try to find out what the seller’s motivation is for listing the property; while some sellers can afford to wait for the highest offer, others may be on a tight timeline and more willing to negotiate if it means a quicker transaction. Consult with your Realtor to identify the best way to appeal to the seller’s interests.
Writing Your Offer Letter
Creating a compelling offer is equal parts art and science; every real estate transaction poses a unique situation, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to offer letters. There are, however, some common components of an offer letter that you should be familiar with and include in your own offer.
7 Common Elements Of Offer Letters
1. Property’s address
Of course, the first piece of information you’ll want to include is the correct address of the property you’re interested in buying.
2. Offer price and financing method
Included with your offer price should be a breakdown of how you intend to pay for the home; you’ll need to state clearly how much money will be acquired through financing and how much cash you’ll be paying at closing. The sum of these two amounts equals the final sale price for the home.
3. Earnest money requirements
In addition to your offer amount, the contract should also specify how much you will deposit as earnest money and the date by which this payment will be made.
4. Details surrounding title policy and survey
The contract should indicate whether the buyer or seller is responsible for the cost of title insurance.
There should also be clear terms describing who will pay for professional land surveying and when the survey is to be completed.
Contingencies outline the conditions that must be met in order for the transaction to take place. As you’ve probably guessed, the purpose of including contingencies is to protect the buyer and minimize ambiguity in the contract. If the deal is not completed for a reason outlined in the contingency clauses, these stipulations allow the buyer to recoup his or her earnest money.
There are many potential factors that could cause a deal to fall through. For example, a buyer who’s been pre-approved for a mortgage may still be unable to pay for the home if the appraiser determines the value to be less than the agreed-upon price. Including an appraisal contingency in the contract allows the buyer to walk away from the deal if this should happen.
Other common types of contingencies relate to inspections for property damage or safety hazards that may require costly repairs; for instance, many offer letters include contingencies for property inspections, so that buyers aren’t forced to complete a transaction that involves a home in need of significant work.
6. Offer expiration date
Including an expiration date and time for your offer is another way to help protect yourself as a buyer. By making your offer valid for only a given period of time, you can avoid wasting time waiting for an answer if the seller is holding out for higher bids. This strategy also gives you the freedom to pursue other options if you do not receive a response from the seller.
7. Closing date and requirements
The offer letter will also include information about when the deal will close and any final steps that need to be completed on either party’s end during closing.
Home Buyer Offer Letter Sample (Downloadable PDF)
Still Have Questions About The Home Buying Process?
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