This article is about how to make an offer.

Once you find a new home in the Atlanta metro area, the next step is to submit an offer that sets you apart from other potential buyers. You may prefer to begin negotiations with a phone call to the seller’s agent, but when bidding on a sought-after property, serious buyers need to provide something in writing.

If you want to beat the competition, it’s never a bad idea to bid close to asking price. But as you work with your real estate agent on how to make an offer, consider adding a few creative elements to help your bid stand out.

Flexible settlements

If the seller requests a quick settlement, be prepared to move up your closing date. On the flip side, allow for flexibility in the event the seller needs time to prepare for a move. In instances when someone requests an extended time until settlement, search for creative ways to close the deal sooner. For example, consider allowing the seller to rent the house after the purchase if this will guarantee you a sale.

However, before agreeing to a rent-back, make sure the time period and rental amount are stipulated in writing and signed by all parties. To cover all possible alternatives, offer a range of settlement dates, but specify the earliest date you will be able to execute the deal.

Limit contingencies

Contingencies are circumstances that may arise and allow you to cancel your purchase offer. In competitive bid situations, try to think of ways to limit contingencies as much as possible. Shoring up your financing with a mortgage pre-approval will demonstrate the seriousness of your offer. Sales contingencies stating that a buyer must sell their current home within a set timeframe after the offer is accepted are useful, but risky because they often leave the seller open to entertain other offers.

Inspection contingencies are important for all buyers, but there are still ways to negotiate them creatively. Purchasing a home “as-is” is a possibility, yet it’s still a good idea to do some sort of professional inspection of your potential home. Examine the roof and heating and air conditioning system, which are costly to replace. Also, termite inspections are an important way to assess the state of a home. After the inspections, calculate future repairs and renovation expenses and adjust your bid price if needed.

How to make an offer personal

Although a personal note to a seller may not be the sole reason your offer is accepted, in a competitive bid situation, such a letter may tip the scales in your favor.

If you do choose to communicate in writing, try to fill in as many details about your situation as possible and describe why you believe this is the right home for you. Sincere interest in a property provides the seller with an added level of comfort and improves relations between all parties to the home-buying transaction.

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