The Buyer's Guide: Top Five Tips to Prepare to Write an Offer

When I begin working with a client, I discuss with them where they’re at in the preparation to buy process. The reason for this is once their ideal home hits the market and they decide to go for it, we have all the items in place to take fast action. Especially if they’re looking for a good deal or a specific type of property, timing is everything. To make sure you’re prepared to pull the trigger, see below my top five tips you should have in order so you are ready to write an offer when that perfect home comes along.

1. Pre-approval letter

Duh, I’ve said this one about a million times, but it is truly one of the most important. Not only for when you begin searching so that you know what price range you are comfortable in, but in order to submit an offer, you’ll need a current certified pre-approval letter from your lender. As rates are changing on the daily, you can always check-in the day you submit an offer to see where you’re at, but having the pre-approved documentation will get you one step ahead of the game.

2. What is your current state

Are you renting? Is your lease up or are you in the middle of a lease? How quickly can you move-out? What are the downsides to breaking your lease? All things you’ll want to investigate. Based on your current situation, I suggest pretending you’ve made an offer and it has been accepted. Now what?! What steps do you need to take in order to not incur two monthly costs of living? Also, if you’re renting and can’t break your lease, what will you do with the property you’ve just purchased? If you lease it out while you’re still renting for more than 60 days, it is seen as an investment property which can significantly affect your loan application. Ask questions and prepare so this isn’t an issue.

3. Offer letter

I highly recommend submitting this to a seller or owner of a property if you’re renting to put yourself ahead of the other offers or applications. More reasoning on why and how to craft your own here, but make sure this is done now so you can submit stat once the dream home comes along.

4. Liquidate funds

If you’re planning on using funds that are currently held up in an account that has a lead time to pull out, do this now. If you’re serious about buying, you won’t want to wait until submitting an offer, just in case complications arise and you’re not able to access the funds. Liquidate now to save time later.

5. Initial deposit amount

This is the money that is due 3 days after an offer is accepted, sometimes referred to as ‘earnest money’. More on what that means here. This can range between 1% and 3% and ensures that the seller knows your serious. If you decide to back out of the contract without a reason, the seller can potentially keep these funds for the inconvenience of taking it off the market and also for losing any buyers by doing so. Talk through this with your agent on the best route to take, and have these funds readily available.

Bonus: How will you be taking title?

I know I said five steps … I mean it sounds cleaner :), but how are you planning to take title on the property you’re purchasing? This will go into the offer letter, so you want to be sure you have this clarified, especially if you’re purchasing with another person or as a business. Talk this through and have this agreed upon so it’s a non-issue come offer day.