Making Your Offer

Whoohoo! You’ve found a house that fits your needs. You’ve started imagining where your stuff will go, parties you’ll have, playing in the backyard, etc.etc. Now you need to write up an offer;or more accurately, your Realtor does. BEWARE sleeping on it! If you’ll be heartbroken if someone else makes an offer on “your” house; act today not tomorrow. Depending on market conditions (lots of buyers out there, little inventory, Spring in Minnesota, new house on the market priced REALLY well), you may be in a multiple offer situation where you’re competing with other buyers. More on that later. It takes about an hour to write everything up. Your Realtor will ask what amount you’d like to offer, how much of a down payment you’ll be putting down (if it hasn’t been discussed already), when you want to close (30-45 days is standard), if you’ll be having an inspection (please do) and anything other requests you’d like to make of the sellers. (All these details will be future posts).

Once your offer is all written up, your Realtor will go over the contracts with you and have you sign at alllllllll the required spots. You’ll also need to write a check for 1% of the purchase price as earnest money. Go ahead and ask any and all questions you want before you sign everything. Realtors are used to the contract language so they may breeze through it quicker than you’d like. Don’t be afraid to ask them to slow down. We work for you and want you to understand what you’re getting yourself into for the next 30 years!

Minnesota has about 45 real estate contracts. Don’t worry; you won’t be using all of them. You will already have signed :
-Agency Relationships in Real Estate Transactions (disclosure)-2 pages
-Contract for Exclusive Right to Represent Buyer-4 pages

For your offer, you will most likely be signing:
-Purchase Agreement-7 pages
-Arbitration Disclosure and Residential Real Property Arbitration Agreement-2 pages
-Seller’s Contribution to Buyer’s Costs Addendum-1 page
-A Financing Addendum of some kind. Conventional, FHA or DVA.-2 pages
-Inspection Contingency Addendum-2 pages
-Personal Property Agreement-2 pages
-Seller’s Disclosure-9 pages

Once you’ve got everything signed, your Realtor will make copies for you and then present your offer to the seller, usually that same day. Chances are there will be a counteroffer of some kind, unless you’ve offered exactly what the seller is asking. Your Realtor will have done some research on how much homes are selling for in the area to help you decide what to offer. The seller may have other ideas, so prepare yourself for some back and forth. Your Realtor is trying to get you the best deal and the selller’s Realtor is trying to do the same for them. It’s not personal; its just business.

When you come to terms, you’ll initial any changes made to your offer and your Realtor will deliver your earnest money to the seller’s Realtor. Next step is having your home inspection, which we’ll cover next.

More juicy info next time!
Beth Bell

Let’s look at houses. . .

Your Realtor will help you make a list of your wants and needs (and help you determine the difference). Make sure your budget supports the amount you’re planning on spending on a house. Unlike buying a pair of shoes that are a bit over your budget, you’re stuck with your mortgage for 30 years! Make sure you can afford it! A good Realtor will respect your budget and work to get you a good deal, rather than only showing you homes at the top of your price range. Together, you’ll determine homes that meet your criteria and then spend some time actually touring houses. The first time out is usually very eye-opening and helps your Realtor get on the same page with your vision. You may end up adjusting your want/needs list after the first trip to look at houses.

How many homes you see at a time depends on your schedule, your Realtor’s schedule and how many homes you can see before your eyes start to cross. Some people are overwhelmed after five homes; some can see upwards of ten in day.

Once you’ve seen enough homes or neighborhoods, you’ll be ready to make an offer! . . .next week . ..

Beth Bell


Whoohoo!  You’re preapproved!  You’ve now chosen your lender and you’ve got a shiny new pre-approval letter in hand saying how much you can spend.  Now’s the time to actually set foot in some real live houses (ok, so they’re not technically alive), because those preapprovals do come with an expiration date and you don’t want to have to apply all over again!  Typically, a quote is good for around 4 months.

Now you want to choose a Realtor.  (PICK ME!) *ahem*  A good source for finding a Realtor you want to work with is getting referrals from family and friends.   If you have more than one referral, great!  Schedule a buyer’s meeting at their office.  They should be able to reasonably accomodate your schedule.  At this meeting, they’ll go over the home buying process with you and more importantly, take the opportunity to get to know you and what you’re looking for.  Legally, they are required to present you with a fair housing pamphlet, a total representation brochure and an agency disclosure.  The agency disclosure IS NOT  a contract, but agents are required to present it to you and discuss agency at “first substantive contact.”  Go ahead and sign it; it doesn’t obligate you to anything.  They will also at least present with their buyer’s contract.  This does obligate you to work with them and only them until a specified period of time.  Most agents will give you at least one trip out to look at houses and see if you all get along before asking you to sign a buyer’s contract.  If everything goes well and you feel comfotable working with only that agent for whatever specified period of time, go ahead and sign the contract.  This also further obligates your Realtor to you as a client.   Legally, we owe the general public “honest and fair dealing”, but we owe our CLIENTS so much more: Loyalty, Confidentialty, Disclosure, Obedience(heel, boy), Reasonable care and skill and Accounting.

Next week, we’ll see some houses!


I think I want a house

So now what?

You’ve probably already been looking at houses online.

If you haven’t already, its a good time to find a lender who’ll write your mortgage. You can go through the bank or credit union where you have other accounts or contact assoted mortgage brokers. My favorites are (of course) Edina Realty Mortgage, our in-house, one stop shop lender. At my office in Eagan, our loan officer is Angie Mracek. She’ll need W-2s, a couple paystubs and a bank statement plus your social security number to run your credit and determine the MAXIMUM amount you can borrow. Once you have this number and the maximum monthly payment, you’ll want to take a close look at ALL your expenses and figure out what monthly payment fits your budget. We don’t want you living in a big house in the dark eating only rice because you can barely afford your mortgage! Then you can start shopping more confidently for the amount of house you’ve been approved for and that you can afford.

More next week.

Beth Bell

I love 1st time homebuyers!

You may ask “Why?”

And I’ll tell you.

While I certainly operate in all kinds of real estate, like selling homes, helping people relocate, downsize, move up, whatever; 1st time homebuyers tend to be more excited and personally involved which makes it more fun for me, because I like to work with fun people. 

If you’re a first timer, you’re also (generally speaking) younger and I guess I’ve never really grown up!

You’ll also have spent 3-6 months looking for your new home online, so we’re on somewhat of the same wavelength of what’s out there.  However!  Real Estate cameras and photos use every trick in the book to make a shack look like Buckingham Palace, so don’t get too excited until you’ve seen the real deal. 

Let’s see… what else do I love?  You’re willing to shop around a bit before you decide exactly what you want!  This may sound like something  a “real estate professional” (harumph-harumph) would think of as a bad thing!  But I really like you to “get” what the market’s doing and how far your money goes in different neighborhoods.  And I love a good deal as much as the next person!

So, Ta for now!  My goal is info once a week or more.  I’ll confess this is my first blog!