I'm Ready to Make an Offer - Now What?

So, you’ve found the house of your dreams and you’re ready to talk with your real estate agent about making an offer.

At this point, many people’s minds tend drift ahead, to the amazing days and relaxing nights they’ll spend in their new home. Remember, though – the hard part isn’t over yet! There’s still plenty left to be done before you get to call this place home.

Your first step? Making sure that your offer is a success! Here’s a checklist of what you need to have on hand when making the next move – before the big move:

1.) Direction

Knowing how to make an offer will take some savvy – and this will come straight from your agent, after you decide to put in your offer.

When you hired your real estate agent, if you asked the right questions and collaborated closely from the get-go, you've ensured that you’re working with someone who offers a style of guidance and communication that suits your needs.

Your agent will be a vital partner when it comes to making a successful offer. First and foremost, they will assist you in understanding the requisite paperwork and the formalities that come with this sometimes-confusing process. At the same time, they will be instrumental in guiding your strategy, and giving you direction on the items of the offer most commonly negotiated, including:

  • the closing date
  • amount(s) of earnest money
  • closing timeline
  • how much money to offer

All of those items? They ultimately will be decided by your… 

2.) Negotiation Strategy

Your agent should be able to easily articulate their typical negotiation strategy, and the alternatives that may work or be relevant for your unique homebuying situation.

Of course, it’s important to remember negotiations are always complicated - but this is another instance where knowing how to ask the right questions comes into play.

As an example, some agents will suggest you offer an amount substantially lower than your intended purchase price, hoping you and the sellers will be able to "meet in the middle." If that's your agent's sole strategy, maybe you should consider advising them!

Your offer should come with some logic and reasoning to the terms presented. Whether you actually end up articulating that rationale to the selling "team" is a part of that strategy discussion, but the logic should be there from the start. If you and your agent can’t get a handle on a negotiating strategy, you may not be ready to make a winning offer.

3.) Pre-Approval On a Loan

You should have a mortgage pre-approval on hand before you even look at a home. This is an unbelievably important first step in the process.

Your lender can't require you to provide credit documentation under current TRID rules, but without it, you don't know if you're going to be able to get your loan. This can obviously have a profound effect on your ability to make an offer when you’d like to.

This is important enough to repeat - your lender will not ask you for proof of assets (e.g. bank statements, brokerage statements, etc.) or proof of income (e.g. pay stubs and tax returns) – but we strongly encourage you to offer them to your lender without having been asked. The intent of this TRID rule was to avoid the lender slowing down your purchase process, but it has the unintended effect of weakening the strength (and assurance) of your pre-approval letter.

4.) Your Team

Your real estate team – or “squad,” if you prefer – includes your agent, lender, inspector, and attorney.  

Here at Real Group RE, we’ve been assisting buyers and putting together real estate teams for a long time. As a result, we have some home professionals that we particularly like to work with and with whom we've had great success in the past. Ultimately it’s most important to get a group together that can work quickly – and remember that past success won’t always guarantee future results.

Whether or not you think there’s going to be significant competition for a particular home, it’s important to remember that time is of the essence, and your team should be assembled and ready to run at a moment’s notice.

5.) Patience

So, you and your agent, with the support of your real estate team, have put in an offer that has a guiding strategy and seems competitive. Now… it’s time to hurry up and wait.

Even though you’ve put in a fair offer, you may not have an answer the very same day. Many transactions are only given the green light after buyers and sellers experience four, five, or even six days of negotiation.

Make sure you schedule time for something you enjoy during your negotiation period - don’t drain yourself! And remember to start planning ahead for what comes next, between contract and closing!

If you’re looking to get started on the real estate search, the Real Group Team would love to help set you down the right path from the very beginning! Drop us a line today to begin your real estate search. Or, start searching homes for sale right now by using some of our free resources.

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Chicago, IL 60614

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