In this post, I list several questions for you to consider prior to writing an offer (I will need an answer from you on most/all of these, so that I'm able to draft the offer paperwork correctly). I realize that many of these questions will prompt more questions from you (what does this mean?... what does that mean?), but the purpose of this post is to make you aware of some of the main concepts you should be considering prior to writing an offer. Of course, we will have a discussion (usually on the phone) about your offer and negotiation strategy before submitting it to the seller, but getting familiar with all of this ahead of time will make the process go more smoothly for you when the time comes to write an offer.
Here are some questions to consider:
(1) What “Purchase Price” do you want to offer?
(2) What do you want the Close of Escrow date to be, a specific date or a certain amount of days after acceptance [Consider: How long do you need for the loan to fund (normally 30-45 days)? How long will your rate be locked for (usually 30-45 days)? and… When is most convenient for you to move in?]?
(3) What percent of the purchase price will you pay as a down payment, or are you paying all cash? I will need you to supply me with Proof of Funds for your down payment and closing costs to include with the offer (most sellers want to see this). I recommend that you black out any account numbers before you send this over the internet.
(4) How much of a good faith deposit are you willing/able to pay once your offer is accepted (from my experience, the norm ranges from about 1-3% of the purchase price)?
(5) Are you asking for the seller to pay for a Section 1 termite clearance or waiting to do this during your repair request? This question may confuse you if we haven't discussed this topic yet.
(6) Is it important to you for the seller to have the home professionally cleaned after moving out?
(7) How aggressive do you want to be to try to secure this home? There are several terms that we may want to tweak, depending on how badly you want this home and on what terms sellers are used to seeing in this market.
(8) Are you OK with receiving possession of the property at 6:00pm on the date you close escrow, or do you prefer to receive possession later/earlier?
(9) What, specifically, do you want to make sure is included in the sale of the house (any appliances, sheds, or any other item that is not fixed to the property that you want to convey with the property)?
(10) Is there anything you do not want to convey with the property (that you would prefer the sellers take with them when they leave - window coverings, playground equipment, chandeliers, etc., etc.)?
(11) Do you want a loan contingency and/or appraisal contingency incorporated into the agreement (most people do)? There will be an investigation contingency and a contingency for reviewing all reports, disclosures, HOA documents, etc.
(12) Are you and your lender OK with a 17-day contingency period (is 17 days enough time for you to do all your investigation, inspections, review all reports, and get your final loan approval, so that you feel comfortable to remove all contingencies until you close – meaning that you may be in breach of contract if you cancel the transaction after removing all contingencies)?
(13) Are there any repairs that you already know you want the seller to pay for that we should include in the offer?
(14) Is there a specific escrow company or title company that you want to use for escrow and/or title insurance? If yes, please send me the contact person’s name, name of the company, and contact information.
(15) Do you want to ask the seller to pay for a one-year home warranty? Is there a specific home warranty company and/or specific home warranty policy you would like to have? If yes, please send me the contact person’s name, name of the company, contact information, and specific policy you want.
(16) Do you want to ask the seller to pay for any of your closing costs (depending on how the market is behaving, this may or may not be a good idea... let me know if you want to discuss this)?
(17) Do you want the (optional) liquidated damages clause to be incorporated into the agreement between you and the seller (you need to decide whether or not you want to initial this optional clause)?
(18) Do you want the (optional) arbitration clause to be incorporated into the agreement between you and the seller (you need to decide whether or not you want to initial this clause)?
(19) When would you like your offer to expire (how much time do you want to give the seller to respond to your offer? The default number is 3 days.)?
(20) Are there any other terms you want to make sure are incorporated into the agreement?
(21) Would you like me to try to present the offer in person to the seller on your behalf (which is not currently a normal practice in San Diego, from my experience) rather than simply send it to the seller's agent (or should I just email it to the seller's agent like normal)? Some sellers such as banks, companies, investors, etc. may have a policy to only receive offers electronically and not in person.
(22) Have you read the entire contract and all corresponding addendums and disclosures? Do you have any questions for me?
I put this list together to help my clients get up to speed on what we need for writing an offer. There is actually more to writing an offer than just these 22 questions, but this is a good start. We can go over any questions you have about the offer and the paperwork, and I'm here to help you and to make sure the paperwork is reflective of your best interests. Be sure to read all the disclosures that come with the offer paperwork (for a discussion of some of the contract-and-disclosure-paperwork you will see when writing an offer, visit the following link: Offer Paperwork). If you've never written an offer to purchase a home in San Diego before, you will most likely have several questions, so make a list for us to review on the phone together. There are a few extra tweaks we can do to help protect your interests, so we can review those with the questions you have.
Once we have all the answers ready, I can fill out the offer paperwork (it will take me about an hour to get it all ready), and we can either sign everything in person, via email/fax, or via online electronic signatures (via ZipLogix’s Digital Ink software, which is used by the California Association of REALTORS®). Most of the time we will review your questions over the phone and use digital signatures to sign the offer paperwork.
Justin Gramm is the founder and principal broker of Globella Buyers Realty, your San Diego Exclusive Buyer Brokerage. He also writes this blog, "For San Diego Home Buyers."
Exclusive Buyer Agents do not list homes for sale and never represent sellers. They have no "inventory" to try to sell you. They can represent you in purchasing any home. They are specialists at representing buyers only on the buyers' side of the transaction. Exclusive Buyer Agents work to get buyers the best price and terms when they buy a home.
If you have excellent credit and plan to buy a home or condo in San Diego County within 90 days, contact Justin Gramm to hire an agent on your side of the transaction. Call Justin at (858) 437-2662 or E-mail.