5 Essential Steps for Making a Successful Offer

5 Essential Steps for Making a Successful Offer 

After months of preparation and weeks of searching, you’ve finally found your dream home. You didn’t think you’d ever luck into it, and yet there it is: The “Forever Home” that’s the perfect fit for you and your family.

Of course, in today’s competitive market, it’s always possible for that dream home to slip away in the blink of an eye. Don’t let it happen to you! Instead, it’s important that you’re ready to make an offer quickly and effectively.

What many first-time homebuyers don’t know is that being ready to make an appealing offer at the right time takes a bit of preparation beforehand; fortunately, we’re here to guide you every step of the way.

In our experience, and with additional thanks to Keeping Current Matters and Freddie Mac’s “Four Tips for Making an Offer,” here are the key steps to take to make sure that you’re ready to make an offer for the right place, at the right price:

1.) Get a Secure Handle on Your Finances

We've spoken before of how critical it is to have a pre-approval in hand prior to looking at homes. Before you can ever make an offer on a property, it’s vital that you have a firm, realistic understanding of your financial situation, including what you can reasonably afford to pay upfront and on mortgage payments in the future. Keep in mind that buying a home will come with closing costs, and you may well need to be ready to sink money into repairs or updates shortly after closing. Knowing right off the bat what you can handle will help guide you toward the right property, and the right offer.

Once you have a grasp on your finances, start the mortgage process early, by getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan.

When it comes to making a successful offer, being pre-approved for a loan goes a long way toward communicating to the seller that you’re able and ready to buy, without too many strings attached. What’s more, getting pre-approval will also allow you to make your offer more confidently, knowing that the home you’re pursuing is comfortably within your reach. In general, getting pre-approval for a mortgage loan is one of the most important steps you can take early on to avoid housing heartbreak down the line.

If you're looking for a place to begin, check out our list of trusted mortgage lenders, all of whom we’ve worked and would recommend to friends and family. 

2.) Be Ready to Act Quickly

Here in Chicago, and around the country, we’re seeing a general trend toward lower levels of inventory:  The recent Existing Home Sales Report, in fact, tells us that inventory of homes for sale is currently at a 3.6-month supply, and in some neighborhoods, less than 2, tipping the scales in sellers’ favor and encouraging competition among buyers.

Once you’ve decided that you’re ready to make an offer, be sure that you’re ready to present it as soon as possible. Much of this will come down to how well you’re able to work with your real estate team.

Which brings us to…

3.) The Right Offer Takes the Right Team

Have you assembled a real estate team that includes a real estate agent, an attorney, and, likely, an inspector and an insurance agent? Home buying takes a village, and it’s vital to the success of your offer that you have a real estate team that you can trust readily and communicate with easily.

In particular, your real estate agent will play a vital role during the offering process; they’ll assist you in understanding the necessary paperwork, and help you set up a strategy and approach for your offer, largely by giving you direction on the items of the offer that are most commonly negotiated - including the closing date, the amounts of earnest money, the closing timeline, and of course, how much money to offer.

Much of what goes into an offer comes down to having insight and a working knowledge of the market for your new neighborhood, as well as an understanding of the condition of the home that you’re seeking to buy – all of which an experienced real estate professional can bring to the table.

4.) Be Ready to Negotiate

Given the nuances of things like closing dates and sales prices, it’s quite likely that the sellers and their real estate team will come back with at least one counteroffer. Don’t stress – this is all part of the process! Once again, having a skilled real estate professional on your side will help during negotiations; odds are, they’ve handled plenty of negotiations, and will be willing to take what comes in stride. What’s more, the right agent will understand your needs and financial limits, helping you to make the offer that works best for you.

Besides negotiating, there are a few things you and your real estate agent may want to do to sweeten your offer, and help it stand out. Appealing to the sellers may take as little as a personal note, or as much as the promise of an “escalation clause” in the event of a multiple-bid situation.

5.) …And Be Ready to Wait

Patience, grasshopper! Like making an offer, receiving and deciding on an offer as a seller takes time and energy, and you may not hear back the same day. Don’t let the homebuying process drain you completely; be sure to stay positive, to take some time for self-care, and to keep looking forward to the next steps, including scheduling an inspection and preparing for closing.

We know that entering the market as a buyer can be intimidating! If you’re looking for advice or guidance, be sure to reach out to the Real Group team! Our real estate pros have seen it all, and we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise with you.

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