Once you walk into a house and start making every excuse possible to make it your own, you've found the one. Now is the time to make an offer. As soon as you are interested in a house, inevitably another house hunter will be too. Waiting to put in an offer could mean provide a window for another and you'll miss your opportunity to purchase. Some buyers wait with the attitude that if the house is still there when They are ready to make a decision then it is supposed to be. That's fine too as long as you understand that it really might not be there and the house hunt will continue.
Your goal in writing an offer is is to write an offer that has hopes of being accepted. This depends on your reasonableness. There is a difference between “I want to write an offer” and “I want to write a winning offer” and can be found with important knowledge and accurate information. You need to dig for everything you can about the property and the seller's motivations. Not because you want to take advantage of them, but because in a negotiation you want to understand each parties interests in making the deal. It is your decision what price and terms to offer and you need to make it an informed decision. Here are a few things you and need to know about the seller and the property.
Call the listing agent and get more information. Always start by asking if the property is still available. If you cannot have this particular dream home, the earlier you know the better.
The second question should be the least significant and you always want to have insignificant questions. Maybe you want to know how long ago the seller replaced the air conditioner or if the pool has ever been acid washed. These questions lead into more significant property information such as the sellers timetable for moving, and if they've had other offers.
Now that you have the knowledge and information, your REALTOR will run comparable listings (comps) on the MLS and share with what other homes have sold for, what other homes are on the market, and what homes are currently pending. A word about comps: only so much can be inferred from what has happened on other homes between other buyers and other sellers. Regardless of the comps, this deal is going to be what your are willing to pay and what the seller is willing to take. I've worked with buyers who believe that a seller must take a certain number because that is what the comps say. This is untrue. A seller may do as they please. It is their property. Bear this in mind while negotiating.
Once you've decided on a price, terms, and timing for the offer, your agent will write it up using the Colorado approved forms along with the appropriate disclosures of necessary and submit it.
Generally acceptance or counter proposals can be expected between 36 and 48 hours. For institutional or governmental agency sellers this time frame will be closer 72 and 96 hours.
Next time I'll be discussing the acceptance and counter proposal process.