When you find a home that you really love, and think is a good option for your family, it’s always exciting—but of course, simply finding a home is just the first step. The next one is to make an offer, and to try to negotiate a good deal with the seller. Making an offer is not something you want to do carelessly, and in fact it’s something we only recommend doing in conjunction with an agent. A bad offer might mean you are overpaying, foregoing key legal protections, or simply blowing your chances of reaching an agreement with the seller.
As you work with your agent to craft a strong offer, keep the following guidelines in mind.
What to Know About Making a Good Offer
Know what you can afford. Before you make an offer, make sure you’re pre-approved by your mortgage lender, which not only provides you with a framework of what you can actually afford to offer, but will also ensure you can close somewhat promptly. You’ll also want to make certain that you have your down payment on hand, as well as the funds necessary for closing costs.
Determine a fair offer price. This is something you’ll want to discuss with your agent, who can pull comparable home values to help guide you. You don’t want to make an offer that’s more than the home is really worth, but you also don’t want to low-ball it so much that the seller rejects you out of hand. You want to shoot for the middle, and an agent will be able to help you with that.
Talk to your agent about other aspects of the offer. Sometimes, you might be able to negotiate for the seller to contribute to the closing costs. You’ll also want to consider other contingencies—home inspection, appraisal, repair/replacement of damaged property, etc.
Talk to your agent about the time frame. Usually, an offer comes with an expiration date of a day or two, though if you’re in a hot market the window may be even narrower than that—sometimes as narrow as a couple of hours!
Set a reasonable time frame for closing. Your offer will need to include the date by which you hope to close, and you want to make sure you pick a date that’s reasonable. Remember that you may need to allow time for the inspection and appraisal, and that unless you are paying in cash you’ll need your mortgage lender’s input. Talk to your lender, because the mortgage underwriting process could take a month or more!
Get Help with Your Offer
Something we stress is that making a good offer is part art and part science, and you’ll want to have a true expert to guide you through the process. That’s where a buyer’s agent will really be invaluable. We can help you, of course, and would love to talk with you about the expertise we provide. Contact our North Carolina real estate agents at Minges Cline today!