Deciding when to make an offer on a house is an important part of the home buying process. If you make a strong offer at the right time, you’re more likely to get the house you want at a price you’re comfortable paying. Whether you fall in love with a house that you tour on the first day out or you look at several dozen houses before choosing one for you, it’s best to have your budget, financing, and agent ready when you make your offer.
It’s important to understand your finances and your budget before you start looking at houses. You can apply for a mortgage pre-qualification without knowing the exact address for your new home. Your mortgage company will provide a letter that states the loan amount you’re approved to buy, which you can include with your offer to show that you’re serious about buying a new home and that you have the funds available to buy their house. Let your agent know your budget upfront so she can show you houses in your desired area that you can afford and also meet your criteria. Your agent will be able to go through the available listings and narrow down the houses to the ones that fit your budget and criteria. This will save you valuable time in the house-hunting process and allow you to choose more quickly from the best available houses for you.
As you begin to tour houses, you’ll be able to refine your list of “Must Have” and “Nice to Have” items. You might even decide to keep an actual paper or digital list to help measure homes against one another during your search. For some people, choosing a home is a very emotional process, so it’s helpful to keep tools available that help you keep track of the practical components of the houses you tour. Keeping a list or making notes on listing sheets can also be useful when you tour several houses in the same day, as they may all run together by the end of the day or weekend.
If you have a house to sell, your house should be listed or under contract when you begin your search. In some markets, a seller can ask for an expiration date on your home sale contingency at which point, you must either buy the house without selling yours or their house becomes available to other buyers. If your home is already under contract with a pending closing date, this contingency becomes less of a concern for sellers.
Once you decide on a house, it’s time to make an offer. No matter the market strength, you should be prepared to make an offer as soon as you choose a home. Delays will allow other families to make competing offers, especially in a strong Seller’s Market. Right now, homes in the Charlotte area that are in good condition and in desirable neighborhoods sell very quickly, even if the sellers are make price or other concessions. When you make your offer, consider the price, any contingencies, and when you’ll be ready to close on your new home. Sometimes, you can offer a lower price if you have fewer contingencies or a quick closing date.
Your agent will present your offer to the listing agent and bring you any counter-offers the seller makes. The negotiation process could be very quick if the seller accepts your offer outright or could go back and forth several times if there are concerns about price, contingencies, or any other negotiable element of the contract. If you’re working with a buyer’s agent, she works for you. The seller’s agent works for them, so it’s best to deal with only your agent and let her work on your behalf throughout the negotiation process.
Overall, the best time to make an offer on a new house is when your offer will be strong. When you can present an offer that tells the sellers that you are serious about buying their home and have completed the necessary steps to make that purchase, you’re most likely to get an accepted offer. We can’t wait to help you through the process.
Enjoy the Adventure!