You're Ready to Make an Offer on a Home...Now What?!

Once you have chosen the home of your dreams, it's time to make an offer. Your real estate agents job in this process is to present your offer on your behalf and negotiate the offer to your best interest, to either the listing agent of the seller, or both, depending on the circumstances.

You will not have to concern yourself with being present at the offer. This is a time of delicacy and diplomacy. This is where you will want the experience and expertise of your agent(s) to take over. Before this meeting, however, several things should occur.

First, have your realtor ensure price is good or if this property is priced high.

One way to determine this is to search the comparable properties around your selection to determine their selling price.

Second, you will need to provide me with a letter of pre- approval from your lender.

Pre-qualification may also be acceptable but it's not as strong as pre-approval. This will be necessary for the seller to even consider your offer, or accept your offer over another.

You will also need to write a personal check for earnest money.

Which is typically 2-5% of the purchase price. Your realtor will take it to the offer to demonstrate you are a sincere and solid borrower. Your realtor will keep possession of the check, however, and only deposit it after your offer has been accepted. Washington State law requires this check to be deposited within two business days after mutual acceptance, unless both parties agree otherwise in the contract.

Finally, you will need to prepare the actual purchase and sale agreement.

This is a crucial part for your realtor in negotiating and setting out favorable terms on your behalf. This will determine all the terms and conditions of the sale, through several legal documents. The agreement is then given to the seller and their agent for consideration.

All transactions vary in terms of when you can expect a reply, and it's important to get it in their hands as soon as possible, before another buyer can enter the situation as competition.

The important thing to know and understand is that an offer is not binding or "done" until all parties have agreed to all terms (which can take several counteroffers, spanning many hours or days), and both buyer and seller have "signed around."

Until that moment, other buyers or offers can enter into the picture, jeopardizing your position. For that reason, speed and timing is of the essence.

Austin Schneider | austin.schneider@rsir.com |Realogics Sotheby's International Realty

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