Of all the home buying advice floating around cyberspace and from the mouths of real estate agents, perhaps the best advice is on how to make the perfect offer after you’ve found your ideal home.

There are many steps involved in getting ready to buy an Atlanta-area home. Preparation and knowledge are vital in making an offer the seller will accept. Some of the key ingredients that go into that perfect offer include:

  • Get pre-qualified for a loan. A seller wants to know that you’re qualified on a loan and ready to move forward. So meet with a lender, who will review your financial situation and credit history. Based on those findings and other criteria, you can get a pre-qualification letter for a loan of a specific amount. This is extremely beneficial in knowing the maximum you can offer on a house.
  • Don’t offer a contingent loan. If you’re in the situation of trying to buy a house while you’re still trying to sell, you’re forced into a weak negotiating spot. The seller wants to know that you’re ready to buy and that you don’t have to wait to sell your former house first. But don’t give up a home inspection contingency. It’s important to hire a home inspector to examine the major systems and structure of the home to make sure the various components are sound and not in need of repair.
  • Avoid the urge to lowball. Sellers will immediately discard any lowball offers and likely won’t take you seriously if you come back with a second offer. This is especially important in a market in which there isn’t much inventory. Your real estate agent will research recent sales in the neighborhood so you know what similar homes have recently sold for. You’ll want to craft an offer that falls in line with those recent sales.
  • Make a clean offer. The first offer should be based on price and not ask for many concessions or upgrades – not yet.
  • Be flexible on the closing date. If, for example, the seller wants to stay in the house for two more months because their out-of-state home won’t be available until then, be willing to accommodate. Likewise, if they want to close escrow quickly, offer a quick closing.
  • Offer cash. Better than getting pre-approved for a loan is having cold hard cash available to pay for the house. This means there’s no chance of funding falling through, which is always a risk.
  • Hire a real estate agent. Perhaps the most important home buying advice out there is to enlist the help of a real estate agent. A professional can tell you the ins and outs of buying in specific areas like DeKalb, Cobb or Fulton counties, as well as the pulse of the market, how long the house has been for sale, and many other factors about the house and seller that you wouldn’t be privy to otherwise. And a good agent will always have you talk to the neighbors before offering.

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