Step 7 - Make an Offer

February 2, 2024

Step 7 - Make an Offer

Awesomesauce! You've found the perfect home and want to put in an offer. Before we can put an offer in on a home, we need you to be sure you let us know the answers to the below questions. We need all of this information so we can type up the offer for your review and signature. 

We need to know:

Full legal name: Please email us the full legal name of anyone who will be on the contract as well as their email address - including yourself. The legal name has to match what is on their driver's license as they'll need to show a driver's license or passport at closing and this name needs to match what is on the contract.

Initial offer price: What initial price do you want to offer for the home? I will email you comps to review and give you my opinion as to what the home is worth and what price you should offer, but ultimately the offer price is entirely up to you.

Your walk away price: It's important to understand that it's highly unlikely for the seller to accept your initial offer price without some back-and-forth negotiation - especially true if your offer is not at least asking price and/or the property is newly listed. That's why it's referred to as an initial offer. In addition to determining the offer you'd like to initially submit, it's crucial to decide in advance how much you're willing to pay for the property and what your walk-away price is before emotions come into play. We won't disclose this walk-away price to the sellers, but it's essential for us to have this information upfront so that we can provide you with the best guidance during the negotiation process.  

Closing date: Typically, closing takes place 30 - 60 days from contract acceptance (45 days is the average), but often we can close as quickly as 21 days for purchases with loans (check with your lender to make sure they can close that quickly) or as quick as 14 days for cash closings.  Closings can only take place Mon - Fri during business/bank operating hours; they cannot take place on weekends or bank holidays when the banks are closed. 

Sometimes you can ask for a longer closing date (60 - 90 days) depending on the seller’s needs, but don't expect it to be granted. Therefore, if you want to move around July 1, plan on putting in offers May 10 - 15. While some local lenders can do closings faster (usually 21 days is the fastest a closing can be done with a mortgage), most lenders can't close that fast and need 30 - 45 days.  If you want to close faster than 30 days please let me know as we'll need to direct you to particular lenders in town who are capable of closing quickly or ask if your lender can close that fast.

If you’re not getting a loan and are paying 100% cash you can close as quickly as 14 days. 

Before putting in an offer, please let me know what exact date you want to close on the home (remember it has to be a Mon - Fri). We don't recommend closing on a Monday as Monday closings increase your chances of wire fraud issues. Usually we cannot specify a specific time for the closing as that depends on when the attorneys and title company are available so plan to take the entire day off of work as a closing time won't be assigned until 2-3 days before closing. Closings can take place anytime from 10am - 4pm and usually take an hour. If you cannot attend closing, we need to know that 2-3 weeks in advance so we can ask the lender to approve a Power of Attorney so a family member can sign the documents on your behalf.

Earnest money:  How much earnest money are you comfortable putting down on this property? Typically, contracts in Chicago ask for $2,500+ as earnest money if the property is over $200k. 

The earnest money is part of your down payment. Therefore, if you’re planning to pay $40,000 for a down payment and you’re paying $15,000 in total earnest money then at closing you would owe an additional $25,000 for the remainder of the down payment since you already paid $15,000 up front.

Down payment:  For the contract, we need to know how much you’re going to put down for your down payment. Examples would be 3.5%, 5%, 10%, 20%, 30%, etc.

Closing cost credits:  Do you want to ask the sellers to pay any of your closing costs? Generally the sellers pay their closing costs and the buyers pay their own closings costs, however, we can ask the sellers to pay some of your closing costs on top of theirs, if needed.  We only recommend this option if you don't have enough money to pay for your closing costs and your down payment.

Home warranty:  Do you want to ask the seller to provide a home warranty on the property? If the property doesn't have multiple offers, we always recommend asking the seller to provide you with a one year home warranty.  Depending on the type of property you're buying, this usually costs the sellers between $600 - $800. Here's more information on what a home warranty is (SEARCHING FOR HOME WARRANTY). If the property has multiple offers then we don't recommend asking for this.

Contingencies:  Any other contingencies we need to be aware of? Do you need to sell your current home before you can buy this home? 

Lastly, buyers sometimes want to know what happens if the contract is accepted and they have a change of heart or the inspection reveals a huge problem. Read here for information on getting out of a signed contract.

Want to review the contract in advance?

Click here to read the New Jersey contract.

Once you've talked through the above, either email us the above answers or text them to us.  We will then write the contract and have you sign it via a program called DocuSign. Click here to watch a video on signing documents electronically via DocuSign.  We’ll then submit it to the seller’s agent.  While negotiations sometimes go quickly, be prepared that it often takes 2-4 days to negotiate the purchase price and terms of the contract.  Every seller is different and some people can make decisions quickly whereas others need time to think things through. Patience is the name of the game once an offer has been submitted as we don't want to look too eager as it weakens our negotiating position!

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