How to Make an Offer on a House in 6 Steps

Work with your agent to submit a written offer based on local market value, specifying how and when the steps in the purchase will happen.
Barbara Marquand
Kate Wood
By Kate Wood and  Barbara Marquand 
Updated
Edited by Alice Holbrook

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Ready to make an offer on a house? Finding “the one” can be exhilarating — and maybe a little scary.

After all, once it's signed, the offer becomes a legally binding agreement that includes numerous details, and this is one time when you have to sweat the small stuff. Your real estate agent will guide you through the process, and you may also want to consult a real estate attorney.

Here are the steps you'll encounter.

1. Make sure your financing and cash are all set

Unless you're paying entirely with cash, you'll need a mortgage preapproval from at least one lender before making an offer. (Ideally, you got preapproved before you started house hunting.) A preapproval lets you know how much you're qualified to borrow, which affects how much house you can afford. And it lets the seller know you have the financial wherewithal to make the purchase.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you're preapproved for a lot more than the purchase price, find out whether your lender will let you generate a customized preapproval letter for an amount less than what you could borrow. This gives you the freedom to show that you've lined up solid financing without divulging your maximum and possibly triggering a higher counteroffer from the seller. Ask your real estate agent for guidance with this.

In addition, verify that the cash you'll need for the down payment, earnest money deposit and closing costs is in a checking or savings account and ready to go. Having direct and immediate access to the cash is essential.

If you need to sell investments or transfer cash between banks, brokerages or even family members’ accounts, make sure you allow time for the transfers to settle before you need the money.

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Check Rate

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New American Funding - PURCHASE logo

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500

Min. down payment 
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