How to Make an Offer on a New Home
You’ve decided on the home you want to buy. Congratulations! Here’s what to do next.
Talk to Your Agent
If you still don’t have a buyer’s agent, now is the time to find one. You do not want to make an offer on a home through the listing agent (the person whose sign is on the front yard). The listing agent may love to help you, but it’s important to remember that their job is to get the highest price for the home and the best terms and conditions for the seller.
A buyer’s agent represents YOU, not the seller, and makes sure you’re getting what you need. Remember, you do not pay for using a buyer’s agent—the seller does. There are only positives associated with using a buyer’s agent, no negatives whatsoever!
Decide What Your Offer Is
There are lots of factors to consider when making an offer on a home. In addition to being completely free to you, a buyer’s agent can help make sure that your offer is a winning one by
- Guiding you towards a starting price that is fair and competitive
- Helping you determine if your offer should be at or below asking price
- Giving you strategies if other buyers are also making offers
Submit an Offer to Purchase
Once you and your agent decide on your offer amount, your agent will prepare an Offer to Purchase letter.
You do need a preapproval/prequalification letter along with an initial deposit check or “earnest money” to bind the offer. At Leading Edge, we handle everything electronically, so you can submit an offer from anywhere in the world. Really!
The Offer to Purchase letter will include the details of your offer as well as information like how long the seller has to respond to the offer (usually within 24 hours), a home inspection contingency that guarantees the return of your deposit if your home doesn’t meet certain inspection qualifications, and a mortgage contingency that protects your deposit if you aren’t granted a mortgage.
Receive a Reply
Your offer will either be accepted (hooray!), or the seller may counter the offer or even decline. As your agent, I’ll confer with you and handle the negotiations or counteroffer and make sure your interests are protected.
Once we have an accepted offer, we hand the deposit check to the seller’s brokerage or attorney who deposits it in escrow, where it stays until closing.