Making an Offer

    1. Be preapproved:

    • About three or four months before home buyers shop for a home, they should review their credit reports to make sure they’re accurate and take short-term steps to improve their credit score.
    • Buyers then should get a bank’s preapproval.
    • While that won’t guarantee they’ll get the loan, it shows sellers that a lender has verified the buyer’s income and credit score to determine that she can afford payments on a mortgage for a certain amount.

    2. Don’t lowball:

    •  Buyers may only get one chance to get the home they want in a competitive market.
    •  They may not get a second try to sweeten the deal later, so a lowball offer the first time around could cause them to lose out.
    •  Buyers should use sales prices of comparable properties in the neighborhood to submit their best offer the first time around.

    3. Add earnest and due diligence money:

    •  The extra deposit can show sellers how serious the buyer is.
    •  Some buyers may even double the amount that the seller requests to show their commitment in purchasing the home.

    4. Keep contingencies to a minimum:

    • Sellers prefer no contingencies, but buyers want to protect their interests too.
    •  “Offset a financing contingency with preapproval and a strong earnest money deposit.