Home Buying

Making an Offer

Making an offer on a home is more than just picking a price. It is crucial to remember that the “offer to purchase” is the controlling document for real estate transactions. Once this completed form is signed by all parties and delivered, you have made a significant commitment. Actually, from this point on in the transaction all decisions are based on what is specified in this document, which is now called the “contract of sale.” It sets the exact terms of the transaction. It is without question the most powerful document you will be asked to sign. The closing is held once all contingencies in the contract have been satisfied.  In many respects, the physical closing at the title company is simply a confirmation of what happened days, weeks or months earlier. Click here to learn the details.


Let’s look at some specific questions sent in by DearMonty readers from across the country. Read more Q&A articles about the “Making an Offer” stage of the Home Buying process:

  1. The seller informed us today they will need six more days to move out. We cancelled some deliveries. Is there anything else we should do?

    Reader Question: We have a post closing occupancy problem. We closed on our home purchase in December. The contract calls for the seller to vacate 30 days after closing. The date and time set to deliver the keys and final walkthrough were today. This morning, the seller called to say they hadn’t finished moving out and […]

    January 14, 2018
  2. Should we offer over list price?

    Reader Question: We have been combing the market for several months, but nothing has hit on all cylinders until a new house came up yesterday and it has everything we need and more. It’s pushing our price limit at an asking price of 449k. We met our agent to see it this morning, and it […]

    November 20, 2017
  3. We want to make an offer, but the agent can't delivery the utility bills. My husband wants to go ahead, but I think they are hiding something. What can we do?

      Reader Question: We saw an open house we like. The agent did not know the cost of energy when asked and has yet to produce numbers. The agent contends, ” Every family is unique, and the costs will vary from owner to owner.” My husband just wants to make an offer; I am concerned […]

    May 16, 2016
  4. Ten tips toward a quality offer on a home

    Reader Question: While attending an open house, the agent had a contract form displayed on the kitchen counter. They explained it as “what we sign if we want to buy the house.” We thought it was high pressure or presumptive because we showed no interest in the house. We are curious to why they displayed […]

    October 28, 2014
  5. Should I bid differently if it is a senior housing duplex?

    Reader Question: My wife and I plan to move to a retirement community. The plan involves selling our present home, and buying a duplex with monthly costs for services. Can you advise on buying a home in a situation where the agent handles all the details of the transaction? We are on a waiting list (deposit of $1500) that entitles us […]

    May 20, 2014
  6. 5 best home buying tips in a sellers market.

    Reader Question: Hi Monty, My daughter has been actively looking for a house through a Realtor. Every time she finds ‘the right house’ for her and her future husband, and bid on the house, someone has paid the full price for the house. Do you have any suggestions on what she can do? She is […]

    March 26, 2013
  7. Making a home offer right the first time.

    Reader Question: When putting a bid on a home, how much below the asking price is a reasonable first bid?  Christina H. Monty’s Answer: Hello Christina, that is a good question. It is not an easy question to answer because with each property the circumstances of the seller are unique and your circumstances are also unique. […]

    December 26, 2012
  8. Home Buyer’s Offer Always Beaten

    Reader Question: Monty, we have put offers on five houses and have had no luck. Our agent says that people are buying them for cash and more money than we offered, yet she says she cannot tell us what to do or what to offer. All she does is show us the houses and fills […]

    August 16, 2012
  9. Value Of Property In Foreclosure

    Reader Question: In general, what kind of pricing schedule do banks use for foreclosure properties (as far as a discount rate per every 15, 30, 60, 90 days etc…? I know that the bank is willing to take less for a property the longer a foreclosure sits on the market, however, in general what is […]

    April 28, 2012
  10. Real Estate Short Sales Can Be Confusing

    Reader Question: Monty, there is a short sale house I am interested in. They are not accepting bids until April 6. Why? And is there any way to circumvent the process to get your offer considered ahead of time?  – Annette M.  Glendale, AZ Monty’s Answer: Hello Annette. There is a multitude of potential reasons they may […]

    March 25, 2012
  11. Is the offer to purchase binding?

    The most powerful document Without question the offer to purchase is the most powerful document you will be asked to sign in a real estate transaction. In many respects, the physical closing at the title company is simply a confirmation of what happened days, weeks or months earlier. This point in time can be stressful […]

    May 31, 2011