How To Make An Offer On a House You’ve Fallen in Love With


By Erik Gunther 

If you’re pondering how to make an offer on a house, congratulations! You’re well on your way to becoming a homeowner. How to make an offer usually comes down to working with a good agent, determining how much you can really afford to pay, and knowing how much the home is worth.

When a home is listed, attention is always drawn to the listing price and whether it matches comparable prices in the area. But when a buyer makes a proper offer to buy a home, matching the seller’s list price isn’t the only concern.

In some cases, terms included in the offer can represent thousands of dollars in additional value (or additional costs) for buyers. These terms are important and should be carefully reviewed. Here are some other important items to consider for an offer to buy a home:

How much should you offer?

Oftentimes, you’ll hear the amount of your offer should be a certain percent below the seller’s asking price or an amount less than you’re really willing to pay. In practice, your offer depends on the basic laws of supply and demand: If multiple buyers are competing for a home, sellers will likely get full-price offers and a house may go for over asking price. If demand in your area is weak, an offer below the asking price might be a savvy strategy.

How to make an offer on a house

The process of making offers varies around the country. In a typical situation, you’ll complete an offer sheet that your REALTOR® will present to the owner and the owner’s representative. The owner may accept the offer, reject it, or make a counter-offer.

Because counter-offers are common (any change in an offer is considered a counter-offer), it’s important for buyers to remain in close contact with REALTORS® during the negotiation process so that any proposed changes can be quickly reviewed.

How many inspections should an offer include?

A number of inspections are common in real estate transactions. They include checks for termites, surveys to determine boundaries, appraisals to determine value for lenders, title reviews, and structural inspections.

Structural inspections are particularly important. During these examinations, an inspector comes to the property to determine if there are material physical defects to the home and whether expensive repairs and replacements are likely to be required in the next few years.

Such inspections for a single-family home often require two or three hours, and a buyer should always attend. This is an opportunity to examine the property’s mechanics and structure, ask questions, and learn way more about the property than is possible with an informal walk-through


Erik Gunther loves to talk about celebrity homes, luxury properties, and strange real estate stories. Send tips to [email protected] Follow @egnonstop

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Photo credit: ericsphotography/iStock


Read the rest of the 10-Step Guide to Buying a Home: