First-time Buyers - I want to make an offer

I found a house that I like and I want to make an offer. How does that work?

Great! Let your Realtor® know that you’d like to put in an offer on that property. Your Realtor will probably want to do a quick Comparative Market Analysis for the property, in order to show you what similar properties in that area have sold for recently. He/she will also discuss with your what you think you want to offer on the place and provide their advice, based upon the “comps” that have sold in that area recently.  They may also ask you to get an updated pre-approval letter from your lender to reflect what you plan to offer. You should discuss with your lender what your down payment options are and decide what the pre-approval letter should reflect.

If they didn’t already do it, your Realtor will go get the Sellers’ Disclosures and Lead-based Paint Disclosure for the property, for you to review before signing any offer paperwork. They may send you that ahead of getting together to do the paperwork or at the time that you get together.

.Your Realtor will schedule a time to get together with you to go over and sign the offer paperwork. He/she will probably have the paperwork all filled out when you get to the meeting, unless there are some things that you are to decide at the meeting, which will be left blank, to be filled out then. You should bring your checkbook with you to the meeting and be prepared to write a check for the Earnest Money Deposit (EMD). The EMD is held in an escrow account and applied to the deal at closing. The EMD is just what it sounds like – an amount that you commit to the deal to show that you are earnest in making your offer. It is possible to make an offer without having to write the EMD check at the time; however, that may be viewed as a “weak” offer compared to other offers that the seller might receive.


Once everything is agreed upon your Realtor will have you initial and sign the Sellers’ Disclosures and the Lead-based Paint Disclosure, as well as the Offer to Purchase document. If you are traveling or otherwise not available for a face-to-face meeting, your Realtor may arrange to use electronic signatures, in which case you will get an email with a link to the documents to be eSigned. He/she may specify that the EMD check will be collected “upon approval” or make arrangements to meet with you to pick up the check.  

Your Realtor will make sure that you get a copy of the complete offer packet and scan it in to send to the other side. The scanned image will be sent over to eth listing agent to be presented to the seller. Your role for now is just to await the seller’s response to your offer. Since the offer paperwork usually has some offer expiration deadline included in it, you will at least know how long you have to wait for the sellers’ answer. For first-time buyers, this is usually a nerve-wracking time.


In my next two posts, I’ll cover what happens if your offer is rejected/countered by the sellers and what to do if it is accepted.

Norm Werner is a Realtor® working for Real Estate One in Milford, Michigan. Norms helps people buy and sell houses in Southeastern Michigan, in Oakland, Livingston and Macomb Counties You can contact Norm about finding a new home or about getting a Market Analysis for your current home by texting or calling him at 248-763-2497 or click here to go to his web site and fill out Help Form for buyers and sellers.

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