Can I offer more than I’ve been preapproved for?
Your preapproval letter will state the amount that you’re preapproved to borrow from the lender. You can offer a greater amount, but you’ll likely need a larger down payment to make up the difference. It’s probably a good idea to check with your lender first to make sure you can get approved for a higher amount should your offer get accepted.
What to Include in Your Offer
When you’re ready to make an offer, your real estate agent can help you get in touch with the seller and submit the offer in writing. Chances are your real estate agent will write the actual offer letter, but here are some details it will include:
- The address of the home
- Your name and the names of anyone buying the house with you, like your spouse
- The amount of your offer
- Any contingencies you’re requesting (i.e., conditions that must be met before the sale is a done deal), such as a successful home inspection
- Any seller concessions you’d like (i.e., things you’re requesting from the seller), such as cash toward closing costs
- Items you want to include in the sale, like appliances and window treatments
- The amount of your earnest money deposit
- Your preapproval letter, so the seller will know that you won’t run into any financing problems
- The date you expect to close
- The date you want to move into the house
- The deadline to respond to your offer
Can I ask the seller to make repairs to the house before I buy it?
Yes – it’s common for buyers to ask the seller to complete repairs as a contingency for you buying the house. You can also request that they make upgrades, like installing new carpet, but keep in mind that this could drive your purchase price up.
How to Negotiate the Purchase Price
If the seller accepts your initial offer, then great – you just bought a house! Your lender will send you a Loan Estimate outlining the fees and costs of your loan, but keep in mind these numbers could change up to 10% prior to closing the loan. Before you close, your lender will send you a Closing Disclosure detailing your final numbers so you can see exactly what you’re paying for.
If the seller counters your first offer or even just rejects it, how to proceed is up to you. Your agent can get in touch with the sellers to see how willing they are to negotiate, and you may trade counteroffers that negotiate not just the purchase price, but the other parts of your offer like the move-in date.
Negotiating can be stressful, so it’s important to keep your goals in mind. Don’t forget that it’s OK to walk away if you and the seller can’t agree. There will always be another house. This is a long-term purchase, so you should take a long-term view.