May 17, 2022
You’ve been searching for weeks and have finally found your ideal home. Now what? It’s time to step up to the plate and make an offer. Homes sell for an amount negotiated between the buyer (that’s you) and seller. Your real estate agent or legal representative can help you determine the appropriate amount for your initial offer, draft the offer, and work with the seller to negotiate the terms. In a seller’s market it’s very likely you’ll be competing with multiple offers, while you don’t want to overpay, it’s important your offer is the one the seller can’t refuse.
Here are some strategies for putting in a winning offer:
- Start with a pre-approval for your mortgage loan. Unless you’re making a cash offer, an offer backed by a pre-approval letter from Spirit Mortgage lets the seller know you are serious about the purchase and that when it’s time to close, you will have the money ready.
- Make sure your offer is submitted in writing. Under no circumstances should you submit a verbal offer. A written offer ensures both parties (buyer and seller) are on the same page.
- Submit earnest money. Earnest money is a deposit on the home that shows you are committed to following through with the purchase. It’s also known as a “good faith deposit.” Earnest money is put down before closing and protects the seller if you decide to back out. It’s typically around 1-3% of the sale price and is held in an escrow account until the home purchase is complete. If all goes smoothly, the earnest money will eventually be rolled into your down payment.
- Be careful when asking for contingencies. As a rule of thumb, contingencies can be obstacles to a successful closing. However, never waive the home inspection contingency. It might be tempting to make your offer more appealing to sellers, but most real estate experts (and Spirit Mortgage Loan Officers!) strongly discourage you from doing so. The cost of a home inspection is minimal compared to the cost of major home repairs.
- Be flexible on your closing date. If your schedule will allow for a quick or delayed closing, that could be the opportunity that moves the needle in your favor.
- Make your offer personal by including a letter to the seller with your offer. Tell them a bit about yourself and your family and let them know why you are moving and what it is about their home that you are most looking forward to enjoying. A quick Google® search will provide you with a number of awesome offer letter templates to ensure your letter stands out.
Most importantly, don’t settle for anything less than your ideal home at your ideal price. There will be other wonderful homes for sale that check all the boxes. Rather than settling for less-than or paying more than what you intend, walk away. Your dream home is still out there! Be patient and keep looking!