Decisions When Writing a Real Estate Offer

There are different versions of the offer form depending on whether you’re buying new construction, bank owned property, rural property, etc. Ask your Real Estate Agent (me) which one is right for you.

Offer Price. You’ll want to consider your offer price carefully. Learn all the specifics in 3 Ways to Decide How Much to Offer on a Home.

Loan Type. The type of loan you use can affect the seller’s closing costs & the amount of time needed to close.  See Types of Home Loans: FHA, VA, Homepath, Conventional, Hard Money, etc.

The offer form is also known as a Purchase Agreement, Sale Agreement, Purchase & Sale, or Earnest Money Agreement.

Deposit. Often called “earnest money” or “good faith deposit,” this deposit is submitted with your offer.  It ranges from 1 to 10% of your offer price and is credited to you at closing.  Your Real Estate Agent can tell you how much is common in your area.

Down Payment. If the seller has more than one offer to consider, they may take into account the size of your down payment.

Closing Costs & “Prepaids”. You can ask the seller to pay for some of your closing costs, but lenders have limits on how much is allowed. Be sure to find out the limit before writing an offer. See Getting the Seller to Pay Closing Costs.

Contingencies. Anything that can stop the transaction is a contingency. We discuss this in detail in the download  “Contingency Checklist” on this page.

Limit the number of contingencies in your offer to make it more attractive to a seller.

Personal Property. Anything that’s not attached to the home is “personal property” and you’ll have to negotiate for it. If you don’t know whether its personal property or not, you need to write it into your offer.

Closing Date. Ask your Real Estate Agent & Mortgage Banker what is standard at the time you write the offer – usually 30 to 60 days.  Your closing date is usually 2 days after you sign final escrow documents.  See Final Closing Steps.

Possession Date. You’ll typically give a seller a day or two to move out once the home closes because they often need the funds from the sale to close on their next home.