How to Make an Offer on a House

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To make an offer on a house, start looking for local houses for sale, determine the price range, contact a real estate agent, and write up an offer that feels comfortable. Expect a counter offer from the home seller when buying a house with tips from a mortgage specialist in this free video on real estate.

Part of the Video Series: Real Estate Financing
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Stetson Lowe, and in this clip, we're going to be talking about how to make an offer on a house. The first step would be to start watching your local listings, newspaper ads, online media outlets that list homes for sale. Also, there's magazines -- free magazines -- in most supermarkets and gas stations that have homes...home listings. What you want to do is find the price range that you want to be in and start zeroing in on homes that are listed in that price range. A good idea is to do this for several weeks or even months prior to jumping into the home buying process. Make sure you understand exactly what certain homes should be selling for and what they have been selling for. Once you have that dialed in, you want to start looking for homes either with an agent or on your own. It is possible to do it on your own. Agents' commissions when buying a home are paid by the sellers, so typically it's to your advantage to have an agent, as you don't have to pay their...his or her commission. They're paid by the seller. And they will protect your, you know, your rights and make sure that you're taken care of through the home buying process. Once you identify a property, you want to write up an offer for the specified amount that you feel comfortable with. And once you've met with your mortgage professional and dialed in a loan program and interest rate and a monthly payment that you're comfortable with, you want to make that offer. And they often say to expect a counteroffer. It's kind of like buying a car. There is a little bit of negotiation that goes back and forth. It's important to be quick in your responses to sellers when they counteroffer or if they need more information. You don't want someone else who's well-qualified to swoop in and to get the house out from underneath you. Some conditions -- economic conditions -- make it what's called a buyer's market where you're more likely to be able to ask for seller-paid closing costs or different concessions. Or if you're in a really strong real estate market, you might not be able to ask for those things or that makes your offer much weaker and they're more likely to pass on your offer and take someone else who's not asking for these types of concessions. It is possible, like I said, to make these offers on your own. You can usually find the five or six page contracts on your state's website under real estate and approved forms, and you can fill them out on your own. But like I said, when buying a home, the realtor's commission is typically paid by the seller, so it's a good idea to take them up on their professional services and to have a professional representative through your home buying process.

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