When you’ve found a house that suits you and it comes time to make the infamous “offer”, there are a few things to consider before proceeding. The offer will be written down on a standard legal form and will include very specific terms and conditions of the offer for the seller. Some of these specifics include: price proposal, security deposit, terms (such as amenities which could include appliances or other items), and contingencies such as inspection, financing and title.

Providing the deposit required by the seller is a small price to convey that you as a potential buyer are serious about the offer and intend to proceed should the seller accept the deal. It is usually a very small percent, often times a thousand dollars. Failing to follow through with the offer results in forfeiture of the deposit (which the realtor usually keeps). Negotiating an offer is a standard practice in the dealing process. It is common for a potential buyer to offer less than the asking price, which is often countered by the seller until either an agreeable price is reached or one of the parties declines completely. Even before a price is accepted or declined, the initial offer gives the buyer the opportunity to have a professional home inspector come in and check the place out.

The home inspection will provide the buyer with accurate information about the property and inform of any potential hazards or hidden issues that need to be resolved. At this point, if a price has been agreed upon, the buyer will ask the seller to repair the problems the inspector brought to light. After these are worked out and the inspector gives his thumbs up, you’re off to the next step; that is assuming you don’t decide to back out of the deal because the seller didn’t live up to the requirements. The second contingency of the original offer means that you as buyer must obtain financing, proving in the end that you can pay for the house as part of the deal. After financing, the last contingency will be to do a title search on the property to prove that the seller really does own the house and that it is clear. At times, this search can produce results that the seller has unpaid taxes in the past or other hidden issues.

In most cases, from offer to close, the process usually goes very smoothly. It is a scenario that happens many times a day and our real estate professionals are very good at what they do, don’t be afraid to take advantage of the expert resources at your disposal. But it all begins with the offer. This is crucial in the scheme of the whole deal. This is where you will commit to the final price you are willing to pay and what comes with the deal. Don’t be afraid to negotiate!