By this time, you feel you are ready to make an offer on the house you have chosen. You need to determine what the initial offer should be. There are some things that you should consider when determining the amount to offer:
     Sale price of similar houses in the neighborhood for the past year or so. This gives you a pretty good estimate of the current market value of similar properties. But, bear in mind that no two houses are alike, even if they look the same.

     Inspection results. Go over the inspection checklist and weigh the good points against the bad. Also, estimate the cost of fixing the problems. The severity of the problem and the cost of fixing it, may impact your offer amount.

     Mood of the market, in general and the neighborhood, in particular. If it is a seller's market, the houses are moving fast and close to the asking price, and you really want the house, consider offering close to the market value of the house. This will ensure that you are a serious contender, even if the buyer gets multiple offers. On the contrary, if the market is slow as it is currently, and/or the house has been on the market for a while, or the seller is eager to sell, you might want to leave more room for negotiations after your initial offer.
When you are ready to make an offer, your Realtor will prepare a written offer to be presented to the seller's agent. 

An offer usually includes an offer price, closing date, financing information, contingencies and earnest money as a token of buyer's commitment to buy the property. Earnest money could vary from $500-$1000, although it is usually $1000. You may make your offer contingent on some outstanding issues being resolved, such as, sellers paying closing costs, sellers fixing some/all of the problems that surfaced during inspection, getting ownership of the house by a certain date, specially if there are tenants occupying the house, etc. 

Once the offer has been presented to the seller's side, they should get back to your Realtor within the specified time. Generally this phase may be associated with some negotiations between the buyers and the sellers. Eventually, the deal either gets negotiated or not.

If the deal has been negotiated and all the parties agree to the terms and conditions, then proceed with the remaining home inspection (if that was a condition). If the deal could not be negotiated then you may either continue to look at more houses or consider making an offer on your next choice.

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A.J. Williamson
Assoc. Broker, GRI, Realtor
Direct:(757) 639-3222


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