Step 6: Make an Offer

The offer is a written purchase proposal signed by you and anyone else that will be a part-owner. The offer includes earnest money, which serves as a good faith deposit. Usually your earnest money is applied at closing to your total down payment and closing costs. Generally, your real estate agent will write the offer for you.

The offer should include:

  • Price you want to pay for the house
  • Amount of earnest money and who will hold money during escrow period
  • Option period/money– Fee paid for an agreed upon number of days during which the buyer can cancel the contract for any reason without penalties
  • Legal names of all of the buyers and sellers
  • The address and exact legal description of the house
  • The closing date
    • Make sure the date is realistic – you will need time to obtain financing and have inspections
    • Generally this is within 45-90 days
  • How you intend to pay for the property
  • A list of material goods you expect the seller to leave in the house, such as appliances, hanging lamps, and draperies
  • All contingencies (things that have to happen or the contract may be canceled)
    • If a loan is involved, the contract is usually contingent on the bank approving the loan
  • Breakdown of who is paying the closing, title, loan and escrow expenses and the cost of any required inspections
  • Time limit for the seller to accept the offer
    • Usually 24-48 hours

Once you and the seller have negotiated a price and you have both signed the offer, you have a binding contract.

See Step 7

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