If there were ever anything that you could just “check the boxes” on, it would be on how to write a basic offer. The problem is that something seemingly simple is, in fact, one of the most important agreements you’ll ever enter into. An ill-planned/ill-written offer could easily cost you the property you want the most, or worse, you could get it and lose it, or get it and end up in financial, legal, or other jeopardy as a result.
As terrible as it sounds, there are agents who are helping people buy and sell property who haven’t even read through the whole of the contracts available to their clients. I can’t speak to what their process looks like but I can speak to what the process should look like. In a perfect world, your agent will get you the lowest price or every contingency you could ask for. In the real world, your agent will get you the best price and the best terms without failing to get the house for you altogether. That’s where the necessity of strategy, experience, and knowledge comes in.
When you find the property you want, your agent will…
- Have built rapport with the listing agent to ensure that you have an advocate on the other side who wants the seller to accept your offer if the terms come together.
- Work with you to determine your “walk away price” – the price where you aren’t “losing” the property if you are competing with other buyers, but where you are perfectly content walking away, letting them have it, and finding the property that’s meant to be yours.
- Work with the listing agent to get as much information as possible on the property, the seller’s situation, and other interested parties/offers, to put you in the strongest negotiation position.
- Assess your risk sensitivity and discuss contingency options that are available.
- Consult with you on your options if there are important contingencies that you would have to forfeit in order to get the property.
- Strategically position you to keep you as protected as possible.
- Put together an offer with the best possible terms and present the offer in a way that ensures you stand out, whether your offer is the only one or one of many.
- And much more!
Once an offer is submitted, the seller may…
- Accept your offer
- Counter your offer
- Reject your offer
It’s important to note that a seller isn’t required to give you a chance to improve your offer and may reject it without discussion. Your agent should be able to determine that prior to sending your offer to the other agent, but there are no guarantees either way. Ensuring that you have put together a winning offer out of the gate is the best course of action.