Step 6: Make an Offer

The offer is a written purchase proposal signed by you and anyone else that will be a part-owner. Generally, your REALTOR® will write the offer for you.

The offer should include:

  • Price you want to pay for the house
  • Amount of earnest money you are willing to commit (generally 1%-3% of the purchase price) and who will hold the money during the escrow period. Earnest money serves as a good faith deposit and is usually applied at closing to your down payment and closing costs.
  • Option period/money– A non-refundable fee paid to the seller 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 pays 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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