How to Make an Offer on a House

Real Estate
Mortgage 101
You’re a smart, savvy buyer. Are you also smart enough to know when it might be time to walk away? Here's how to make an offer on a house with contingencies!
Published on
August 21, 2023
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Congratulations on your decision to buy a house. Buying a home is an important financial decision and one that will have long-term impacts on your life. To ensure your offer is accepted, it is important that you do thorough research into the market and understand what other homes in the area are selling for. This post will walk through how to make an offer on a home step-by-step so that you can be confident not only in buying the right property but also negotiating an acceptable price.

Research the property.

Before you make an offer on a house, it's important to do some research about the home's location and condition. You'll want to:

  • Check out the home's location. The location of a property can play an important role in its value. For example, if it's in a busy area where many people live and work, this means that there will be more foot traffic for potential buyers (and therefore more interest from buyers). On the other hand, if your house is in an area that doesn't have many attractions nearby (such as restaurants or shops), then it might be hard to attract buyers who are looking for something more than just living space.
  • Get a history of the home's condition over time—and compare this with similar houses nearby. If you've lived in your current residence for several years now but haven't noticed any major repairs or modifications being made during that time (or even before then), then chances are good that other homeowners have noticed similar things themselves; they may even choose not buy houses like yours because they think they won't last very long either! Also keep track of what kinds of upgrades have been done on other properties around yours; note when those projects were finished so you can get an idea about how quickly different types of work tend get done here overall.
How much to offer, compared with other homes in the area.

When you're ready to make an offer, you’ll want to compare the asking price of the home with other homes in the area. For example, if you see one home listed for $200,000 and another for $250,000...that's a difference of about 20%. In this case, an offer at $225,000 might be appropriate (saving a few thousand dollars). On the other hand, if both homes are listed for $150,000 but yours has some upgrades that set it apart from others in your vicinity (such as granite countertops or new carpet), then perhaps offering closer to $170-$180K would be more appropriate.


The contingency is the part of the offer where you state what conditions must be met before you can close on the house. This is usually done after the home inspection or when the loan approval has been given. Too many contingencies can deter the seller from your offer, so it is important to know just what to ask for.

A contingency is a clause that you can add to your offer given to the seller. It's essentially a way for you to protect yourself in case certain things don't happen, such as an inspection or loan approval. For example, let's say that you want to buy a house, but it needs repainting before you move in. You could ask the sellers if they would contribute towards the cost of painting if your offer is accepted and everything else goes smoothly during escrow (the period between when paperwork is signed and when title ownership transfers). This would be considered one of your contingencies—that they pay for part of the painting costs if everything goes according to plan.

Contingencies come in many forms but there are three common ones: inspection contingency, loan contingency and appraisal contingency. The inspection contingency gives either buyer or seller 30 days to find out if everything is right with their new house to proceed with closing on it (the buyer’s pre-approval will expire after this 30-day period). A loan contingency requires that both parties agree that they have been approved by lenders for financing—you can’t get appraised until all loans are approved first! And lastly an appraisal contingency states that both parties must be approved by their mortgage company at least 48 hours before closing day so that everyone knows how much money will be spent on this fancy new house.

Put it in writing.

When you accept the seller's offer, make sure you send it in writing. It's much easier to track and confirm your acceptance if you have a written record of it. This will also help ensure that everyone is on the same page about what was said and agreed upon.

There are many ways to send an offer letter: email, fax, or snail mail via postal service. Whichever method you choose, be sure to include all the key details of your offer in the body of the document so that there's no question about what was discussed during negotiations. You should also send a copy for each party involved (i.e., listing agent and seller). And don't forget to keep one for yourself!

Be willing to negotiate.

As a buyer, be willing to negotiate. This doesn't mean that you should offer half of what the asking price is and expect the seller to meet you halfway. But it does mean that if a house isn't worth what the seller has listed it for, then it's okay for both sides to come together on some middle ground between them.

There are many things that buyers can negotiate with sellers: repairs, upgrades (like flooring), appliances and more. Just make sure that whatever change in price or terms of sale you're making is worth it—don't just say yes because you want this house so badly! If your offer gets accepted by the seller and they ask for something outrageous like asking for free rent until next summer's lease ends (yes, this happened), then back out before they accept your offer and go with another one instead!

It may feel awkward at first trying to get everything right during negotiations but trust us when we say that negotiating is part of real estate transactions across America every day! And if both parties are able -and willing -to negotiate without taking advantage of each other then everyone wins!

It is sometimes tricky to get an offer accepted but if you do proper research and follow the steps above you should be fine.
  • Research the property.
  • Determine how much to offer, compared with other homes in the area.
  • Decide what contingencies you want to put on your offer (home inspection, loan approval, etc.).
  • Contact a realtor who has experience with competitive bidding situations. Real estate agents are very knowledgeable and can help guide you through the process of submitting an offer that will be accepted by sellers

When writing up your contract and submitting it for acceptance, include all these items as well as any others that may be important to you or your situation.


We hope that this article has helped you with your first home purchase and gave you some confidence to go out there and make an offer on the perfect property!

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