Making An Offer To Buy A Home

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Stepping into a fast-paced real estate market where homes sell within 24 hours of listing can be intimidating. You might not be ready or willing to enter a bidding war with other eager buyers. Even in slower-moving markets, rising home values can make you question whether your offer is enough to secure your dream home. Fortunately, getting the seller to accept your offer is about more than price.

Elements Of An Offer To Purchase

While a purchase offer is a binding sales contract, details of the proposed transaction can change before you get to the closing table. The baseline contents of an offer to buy a home include:

  • Property location
  • Amount you’re willing to pay for the property
  • Description of financing that will cover the entire cost of the sale
  • Terms and conditions of the sale, which typically detail several expectations that must be met before transferring ownership of the home. Some might include:
    • Suggested closing date if all conditions are met
    • Refundable earnest money deposit
    • Concessions or things you expect the seller to cover, such as repairs or closing costs
    • A copy of the mortgage pre-qualification or pre-approval from your lender (optional, but preferred)

State real estate commission websites often provide sample forms that include other details to include, so you can ensure the document meets legal requirements.

Why Contingencies Matter

Purchase offers often include a way out for both the buyer and the seller if the property or other party does not meet the requirements outlined in the document. Many purchase agreements are contingent upon:

  • A satisfactory home inspection
  • Proof of financing (unless it’s a cash purchase)
  • Appraisal results that confirm the value of the property if the purchase requires third-party financing (e.g., a home loan)

If these or other contingencies are not met, the buyer can receive their earnest money back and walk away from the sale with no legal obligation to purchase the property.

The Role of a Real Estate Agent

A skilled real estate agent can help you draft a competitive offer letter that considers local market conditions, details about the listing, and your financial situation. They provide guidance on how much to offer for the home, the amount of earnest money to provide with the offer, and other details that will help your submission catch the eye of the seller. This assistance can be crucial in a market with more buyers than sellers.

If your offer is declined, your agent can help you decide whether to resubmit it based on the seller’s feedback. Some sellers may respond with a counteroffer, which allows you to negotiate the sales price, terms of sale, or both.

If the seller accepts your offer, you’re one step closer to purchasing your new home.


Overpaying for a home could lead to buyer’s remorse. Know your financial limits to ensure your new home is a happy one. Use Call Federal’s Ask Us Anything feature to speak with a dedicated mortgage consultant who can answer your questions about the home loan process.

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