The search is over! After months of open houses and online research you found your new home. Now it’s time to make an offer. We’ll help you take the guess work out of how to make an offer on a home using these 5 guidelines.

1. Engage your real estate broker to let them know you’re ready to make an offer.

Your broker will provide you with a comparative market analysis on recent home sales comparable to the home you’re making an offer on. The comps will include information such as: home size, location, school district and taxes. This will help you determine the value of the home so you can make a sensible offer, as some homes aren’t always priced appropriately. Leave room to negotiate and expect a counteroffer from the seller. Your first offer should be less than the maximum price you’re prepared to pay.

2. Prepare to make the offer official.

An offer is a written letter that your real estate broker submits to the seller, or seller’s agent, with terms such as offer price and timing. An offer is non-binding until the buyer and seller accept the terms and sign the offer letter. The offer letter should be accompanied by a pre-approval letter from your lender. It’s important to show sellers that you are qualified to borrow the amount necessary to complete the purchase.

3. Competing offers on the same house.

It’s possible that you’re competing with offers from other potential buyers. Ask your agent if there are existing offers on the house. If so, you can still submit an offer, but you may be asked to meet or beat an existing offer. Sellers may use this tactic to drive up the price of the house, so, keep the comps in mind, only offer what you can comfortably afford and avoid overpaying. Another factor to consider when negotiating is timing. Instead of increasing your offer price, agreeing to accommodate the sellers closing date can go a long way in finalizing offer negotiations.

4. Submit your offer to the seller.

Paperwork is complete and your offer is submitted to seller. The seller will accept, decline, or counter your offer, usually within 24 hours. If the seller counters, you accept, decline or counter and this continues until all terms are agreed upon. After the buyer and seller agree to basic terms, such as price, in New York, your attorney will review the contract of sale and have you and the seller sign the document. Upon signing, the buyer provides a down payment. At this point the home is officially under contract, hooray!

5. Under contract but still more to do.

Between contract and closing, you will obtain your mortgage. You’ll provide your Jovia Mortgage Specialist with certain paperwork (proof of income, assets, copy of contract of sale) which will be evaluated. During this time an appraisal and inspection will be performed on the house. A home appraisal is conducted to assess the value of the house and ensure the loan amount does not exceed the value of the house. An independent appraiser will take measurements and pictures of the house and send a report to the lender. The lender confirms the loan amount supports the home value and the mortgage process moves to the final stages. A home inspector is hired by the buyer to evaluate the condition and safety of the house and property. Areas of focus include heating and cooling systems, plumbing, appliances, foundation, and roof quality. If provided in the contract of sale, upon receipt of the inspector’s findings, the buyer can move forward as is, request the seller make repairs, renegotiate the sale price, or break the contract. In most cases the buyer and seller come to an agreement, the contract is updated, and a closing date is set.

It’s time to get excited, the process is complete. At closing the seller hands over the keys and you take possession. Congratulations, you just bought a home!

Ready to start the homebuying journey? Contact a Jovia Mortgage Specialist today!