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How To Make An Offer On A House That Will Get Accepted

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Published on April 7, 2022
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Making a winning offer on a home is no small feat in a seller's market. In a competitive market, you may find a home you love, only to get outbid by another buyer.

That’s why it's more important to go into the home buying process with a strategy in place. So if you want to learn how to make an offer on a house that gets accepted, keep reading.

Are You Ready To Make An Offer On A House?

If you’re currently trying to buy a house, you already know the market is challenging for homebuyers. So before you rush in to make an offer, you should take the following steps to prepare.

Get Preapproved

Before you start looking at houses, you need to get preapproved for a mortgage. During the preapproval process, your mortgage lender reviews your income, finances, and credit history to determine how much to approve you for.

Once you’re preapproved, you’ll receive detailed information about interest rates, closing costs, and your estimated monthly payment. You’ll also receive a Verified Approval Letter that you can show home sellers.

You should always include this letter when you make an offer on a home. A Verified Approval Letter strengthens your offer because it shows the seller you’re a serious candidate and have the financing in place to follow through.

Work With An Agent

Before you start the home buying process, you should find a qualified real estate agent to work with. Also called a buyer’s agent, a real estate agent can be a huge help, especially for first-time home buyers.

Your real estate agent will research and find potential properties that meet your requirements. And more importantly, they’ll be able to walk you through the negotiation process with the seller’s agent.

If you don’t already have a real estate agent to work with, you can ask friends or family members for a referral. 

How To Get An Offer Accepted On A House In 2022

It’s a difficult time to buy a house — inventory levels are low while the demand for homes remains high. This has created a seller’s market where buyers are competing to find and purchase the home they want.

Some buyers have gone to drastic measures to speed up the offer process, including purchasing a house sight unseen, but this can be a risky move. And though many experts are predicting that the housing market will soften in 2022, buyers will likely continue to face heavy competition in the coming year.

If you’re wondering how to get an offer accepted on a house, here are four strategies you can try.

Offers Above Asking

High-demand, low-inventory markets drive up home prices, so if you’re trying to win a bidding war, you may want to offer more than the listing price. If you offer at or below the listing price, your offer will likely be outbid.

Clean, Non-Contingent Offers

Contingent offers are common in real estate transactions because they protect the buyer from expected repairs, insufficient value, and title defects. And in a buyer’s market, these contingencies are often accepted without question.

However, many buyers are removing the contingencies to help their offers stand out to sellers. This does come with risks, so you should always discuss this strategy with your real estate agent first.

All-Cash Transactions

If you want to set yourself apart from other homebuyers, making an all-cash offer is one of the best ways to do it. When sellers receive an all-cash offer, they know the buyer has the funds to purchase the home. This speeds up the closing process and eliminates many of the hang-ups that come with financing.

Large Earnest Money Deposits

When a seller accepts an offer on a home, the buyer is required to put down earnest money. This is a deposit that protects the seller if the offer should fall through, and it’s typically 1% – 3% of the listing price.

If you want your bid to stand out, you can offer a large earnest money deposit. If the sale falls through, the seller gets to keep your deposit, and they can still sell the home to another buyer.

How To Make An Offer In A Balanced Real Estate Market

In a balanced real estate market, here are the eight steps you’ll take to make an offer on a house.

Decide On A Price

Once you find a home you love, you and your real estate agent need to determine how much to offer. In less competitive markets, buyers might rely on a comparative market analysis to determine the correct offer amount.

You’ll use several different criteria to determine how much to offer. For instance, you want to look at how long the house has been on the market and whether the seller has dropped the price. You also want to consider the local market and how quickly homes are selling in that area.

But you should always consider your budget above all else. You know how much house you can afford, and it’s not worth overextending yourself to get an offer accepted.

Consider Contingencies

Next, you want to consider whether you should include any contingencies in your offer. For instance, you can have a contingency stating that if the home inspection reveals problems with the home, you can walk away from the sale without losing your earnest money.

Contingencies protect the home buyer, but they can be problematic in a seller’s market. If you include too many contingencies in your offer, the seller may end up choosing another offer.

Write A Check

Before submitting your offer, you’ll write a check for your earnest deposit. Earnest money is a deposit that protects the seller if the contract falls through, and it’s typically 1% – 3% of the home price. If you want your offer to stand out to the seller, you can offer a higher deposit than average.

Write An Offer Letter

Next, your real estate agent will write an offer letter to submit to the seller’s agent. The offer letter is your chance to stand out to the seller, so you want to be sure you get this right.

What To Include

Here are the elements a good real estate offer letter should include:

  • The seller’s name
  • The address of the property
  • How much you’re offering to pay for the home
  • How much you’re willing to pay in earnest money
  • Any contingencies you want to include
  • When you want to close on the home
  • A deadline for when the seller has to respond to the offer

What To Attach

When evaluating offers, a seller’s highest priority is choosing a buyer who can pay for the home. So if you plan to take out a mortgage, you should attach a preapproval letter to your offer letter.

This shows the seller you already have the financing worked out and can pay for the house. If you plan to make an all-cash offer, you should include a proof of funds letter.

Receive An Answer: An Acceptance, Rejection Or Make A Counteroffer

When the seller responds, there are three different answers you could receive: an acceptance, rejection, or a counteroffer. Obviously, an acceptance is the best possible scenario because it means your offer has been approved.

If you’re rejected for the home, that means the seller likely preferred another offer over yours. If you receive a counteroffer, you should talk to your agent about whether you should raise your offer or walk away from the sale altogether.

Negotiate Outstanding Terms

All parties involved in the sale will continue negotiating contract terms until the purchase agreement is set.

Sign A Purchase Agreement

Once the seller has accepted your offer, you’ll sign a real estate purchase agreement. This is a binding contract between the buyer and seller that outlines the terms of the real estate transaction.

A purchase agreement typically includes the following information:

  • The buyer’s information
  • The seller’s information
  • Details about the property
  • The agreed-upon price
  • How the buyer is financing the sale
  • Any fixtures and appliances included in the sale
  • The total earnest money deposit
  • The closing costs and who’s paying for them
  • Any contingencies that must be met for the sale to proceed

What Happens If My Offer Is Accepted?

Here are the steps you’ll take after your offer is accepted on a home:

Get A Home Inspection

Even if you choose to waive the home inspection contingency, you should still get the house inspected before closing. The Seller's Disclosures should reveal the home's condition, but it’s not a good idea to rely on them exclusively.

If the inspection reveals substantial problems with the home, you may be better off walking away and losing your earnest money. Nobody likes to lose money, but it’s better to lose that deposit than move into the wrong home.

Move On To Closing

Once the home has been inspected, it’s time to decide on a closing date. Your closing will likely be held at the title company’s office, where you’ll review and sign your loan documents. You’ll also pay your closing costs and receive the keys to your new home.

The Bottom Line: Making An Offer On A House Is An Art In A Competitive Market

Making an offer on a house is not something to be done casually. When you make an offer on a home, you’re taking a substantial risk by making a deposit, so you need to know what you’re agreeing to.

If you’re ready to move forward with the home buying process, you can start by applying for your Verified Approval today.

Take the first step toward buying a house.

Get approved to see what you qualify for.

Start My Approval

Jamie Johnson

Jamie Johnson is a Kansas City-based freelance writer who writes about a variety of personal finance topics, including loans, building credit, and paying down debt. She currently writes for clients like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Insider, and Bankrate.