House Hunting Hacks: How To Put In Offer On House


Putting in an offer on a house is a pivotal moment in your home-buying journey. It’s the decisive step that can transform a dream into reality. As exhilarating as it may be, it’s also a time when careful consideration of every detail is paramount. After all, once you put pen to paper, that offer becomes a legally binding agreement with many intricate components. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know regarding how to put in offer on house

how to put in offer on house

Ensure Your Financial Readiness for Making an Offer on a House

The first step in learning how to put in offer on house, is to have your finances in order. If you’re not paying with cash, you should have a mortgage pre-approval from at least one lender. This pre-approval not only informs you of your borrowing capacity but also shows the seller that you’re financially ready to make the purchase.

Having quick and direct access to the necessary funds is essential for a smooth process. If any investments need to be sold or cash transferred between accounts, plan ahead and allow sufficient time for the transactions to settle.

Determine the House’s Market Value Before Making an Offer

By understanding the market value, you can confidently proceed with your how to put in offer on house journey. If you’ve been actively attending open houses and staying informed about recent property sales in your area, you’ll likely have a good sense of a home’s market value. For further assurance that you’re not overpaying, you can physically inspect 20 or more properties in the area that are similar to the one you’re interested in over 6 months. This hands-on approach can give you a comprehensive understanding of the local market.

Understanding the Vendor’s Motivation

When you’re learning how to put in offer on house, it’s vital to remember that price isn’t the only factor that matters. Understanding the vendor’s motivations can help you craft a proposal that genuinely appeals to them. By solving a problem for the vendor, you can make your offer stand out. For example, if the vendor is selling due to a relationship breakdown with children involved, offering a short finance and settlement period or allowing them to rent the home back for a few months can make your offer more attractive, even if it’s not the highest price.

Secure Your Mortgage Pre-Approval

In the journey of how to put in offer on house, the critical starting point is obtaining a mortgage pre-approval. Think of pre-approval as a practice run for your mortgage, using your accurate financial and credit information to establish the range of home prices you can afford. It also serves as proof of your eligibility to purchase the home. To obtain your pre-approval, you must provide essential income and credit details, along with your estimated purchase price. Once your lender reviews this information, you’ll receive vital insights like interest rates, estimated closing costs, monthly payment projections, and maximum qualifying purchase price. Your pre-approval letter is a crucial document that should always accompany your offer. This letter assures sellers that you possess the financial capability to proceed with your offer. 

Find the Ideal Home for You

Once you’ve successfully obtained your mortgage pre-approval, the next step is embarking on your home search. This journey typically begins with online listing exploration, where you can set up alerts on various real estate platforms. Additionally, collaborate closely with your real estate agent to schedule property tours and attend open houses. To ensure you’re well-informed and well-prepared while determining how to put in offer on house, consider the following aspects:

Time on the market

The duration a home has been listed can be a significant factor. Generally, properties on the market for an extended period may have less competition, granting you more negotiation flexibility.

Owner’s occupancy

The time the current owner has resided in the home can influence their attachment and willingness to accept lower offers. Emotional connections may impact their decisions.

Renovations and expansions

Delve into the property’s history by acquiring the seller’s disclosures and checking with the city permitting office for renovation and expansion records. These findings could impact your offer.

Neighborhood insights

Gain a comprehensive understanding of the neighborhood, encompassing amenities, location, proximity to businesses, schools, and recent local home sales. This knowledge helps you tailor an appropriate offer price.

Calculate Your Offer Amount

Determining your offer amount is vital when considering how to put in offer on house. Here’s how:

Rely on Your Agent

Your real estate agent, an expert in the market, will help you decide on a competitive offer amount based on market conditions and the house’s specifics.

Analyze Market Data

Dive into the comparative market analysis and recent listings to gather insights and make an informed decision.

Market Dynamics

Understand the broader market dynamics, whether a seller’s or buyer’s market. Your agent will consider factors such as the property’s condition and time on the market.

Stay Within Budget

Regardless of market conditions, always offer an amount that aligns with your budget.

Determine Your Earnest Money Offer 

Earnest money is a crucial part of how to put in offer on house. It’s an upfront cash deposit that demonstrates your commitment to the seller. If the deal falls through for reasons not covered in your contingencies, you forfeit this deposit. However, it’s not extra cash; it comes from your down payment funds.

Typically, earnest money deposits fall within 1% to 2% of the home’s purchase price. Offering more can make your offer more attractive and show the seller you’re serious. The money is placed in an escrow account after the seller accepts your offer. It can later be applied toward your down payment at closing. If the deal falls apart due to something not specified in the offer, the seller retains the earnest money. However, if the seller is at fault, the deposit should be returned to you.

Consider Your Contingencies 

Contingencies are your safety net in how to put in offer on house. They provide protection and flexibility. There are six main types of contingencies to consider when making an offer on a house:

Home Inspection

Allows you to renegotiate or back out if significant issues are found during the inspection.


Permits you to renegotiate or exit the deal if the home’s appraised value is lower than your offer.


Allows you to withdraw your offer if your mortgage loan approval encounters issues.

Home Sale

It’s relevant if you’re selling your current property before buying the new one.


Allows you to leave the deal if there are title issues.

Final Loan Approval

Protects you if your mortgage approval takes longer than expected.

Write Your Purchase Offer 

When it comes to how to put in offer on house, this step is pivotal. Your offer needs to be well-crafted and legally binding, so follow these guidelines:

Drafting the Offer

Typically, your buyer’s agent will draft the offer using a residential purchase agreement that complies with state and local laws. This agreement is then customized to match your specific needs.

When the buyer and seller sign the agreement, it becomes a legally binding contract. A real estate lawyer might be required in some states to handle parts of the contract and closing process, especially in complex transactions.

Key Elements

A purchase agreement typically includes essential elements like:

  • Address: The property’s legal address.
  • Price: Specifics regarding the purchase price.
  • Earnest Money: Amount and terms related to earnest money, including its disposition upon offer acceptance.
  • Expiration Date and Time: The offer’s deadline, which can be short in hot markets but is usually one to two days.
  • Fixtures and Personal Property: Items included in the purchase, such as built-in systems and additional items like appliances.
  • Opening of Escrow: The title or escrow company and escrow officer.
  • Title: A requirement that the seller provides a clear title.
  • Contingencies: Provisions to protect the buyer’s interests.
  • Seller Disclosures: Information the seller must provide and the delivery schedule for these disclosures.
  • Projected Loan Closing Date: Typically 30 to 60 days.
  • Closing Costs: Details about who covers closing costs and how expenses are prorated.
  • Broker’s Fees: Establishment of who pays the broker commissions.
  • Walk-Through Inspection: Allows the buyer to inspect the home before closing.
  • Delivery of Possession: Specifies when the seller vacates the property and hands over the keys.

Price and Terms Negotiation in the Home Sale

What happens after you’ve submitted your offer? The seller can take one of three actions: accept it, reject it, or provide a counteroffer.

  • Acceptance is the ideal outcome, and congratulations are in order!
  • A rejected offer means it’s time to resume your search for another property. Use this experience to fine-tune your approach.
  • When the seller presents a counteroffer, you face several choices. You can accept it as-is, propose your counteroffer, or decide to move on. Negotiating a counteroffer often involves multiple discussions until both parties reach agreeable terms. Remember that negotiations encompass more than just the price; you can adjust contingencies, and closing dates or even consider a lease-back option, allowing the seller to rent the home back.
how to put in offer on house

Sealing the Deal

With your offer accepted, it’s time to cross the final hurdles and move closer to your dream home. You and the seller will finalize the contract, and both parties will sign it, solidifying your agreement. The signed contract will be forwarded to your mortgage lender to continue with the mortgage process, seamlessly continuing from where your pre-approval left off.

At this stage, your lender will order the appraisal, an essential step in the process, while you can begin arranging your home inspection. These steps ensure that the home you’re about to buy meets all necessary criteria and allows you to proceed confidently toward closing the deal.


Buying property may not be an everyday occurrence, but knowing how to put in offer on house can significantly impact your future capital gains. As you embark on this journey, this guide simplifies the process, offering strategies and tools to help you accept your offer and navigate smoothly toward settlement.