Home Ownership

Make Your Home Purchase Bid Irresistible to a Seller

Man and woman sitting in their living room discussing how they will make the best bid on their house

For first-time homebuyers, one of the most difficult and intimidating aspects of the process is submitting a bid. How do you know the magic number that will get accepted? A buyer must submit a bid that is competitive and attractive to both parties, but it can take time to figure out what that number is.

Know What You Can Afford

It’s not wise to approach the process with the idea of getting your dream home at any cost. Determine how much you can afford while still living comfortably. This should be your absolute maximum number, regardless of how much you want a home.

Know the Market

You should know whether it is a seller’s or buyer’s market and how that impacts your bid.

Seller’s Market:

  • Multiple offers: you won’t know what other buyers are offering
  • Calculate what you are willing to pay
  • Make your first offer your best offer
  • Make your offer more attractive by being flexible with the closing date or providing a larger down payment than the minimum required
  • Recognize that you may get only one chance

Buyer’s Market:

  • May be the sole offer
  • Can offer a lower price for negotiation
  • Seller may counteroffer, giving you a chance to come back with another number

In many instances, a seller may not reject an offer outright or accept another one. Instead, he or she may submit counteroffers to multiple bidders. In this case, you may get a second chance to submit a better bid. However, you may not want to risk that option for a home you really want.

How to Increase Your Chance of Submitting a Winning Bid

  • Get preapproved by a lender. Many sellers will accept a bid from a preapproved buyer over someone who hasn’t been approved, even if the second offer is slightly higher.
  • Do your homework. Research market values and know what a home is worth so you don’t underbid.
  • Work with an experienced agent. Your agent will have access to information that can help strengthen your bid. While most information is kept private, agents often share relevant details that aren’t protected by client confidentiality.
  • Write a letter to the sellers, relating on a personal level. Explain that the house is your dream house, one you’ll live in for many years, and that you’ll care for it just as the sellers did.

The Process

Understanding the home purchase bidding process can help you make an offer with confidence. When you find a home you like, you’ll sit down with your real estate agent and write up an offer. In addition to the amount you are willing to pay for the property, this offer also includes any contingencies, requirements and requests for the seller.

Once you sign the offer, the agent presents it to the seller’s agent, who then presents it to the seller. The seller can choose to accept, reject or make a counteroffer. He or she can hold the offer for a few days, but must respond in a reasonable time.

If your bid is accepted, you enter into a contract. If the seller makes a counteroffer, you can choose to walk away, accept it or respond with another counteroffer. If your bid is rejected, you can wait to see if the owner accepts a different bid before deciding whether to try again.

When to Walk Away

The decision to walk away from bidding on a home is a personal one. It should be based on your financial status and how much you believe the home is worth. Don’t let your emotions drive the decision. Remember that no matter how much you love a certain home, if purchasing it isn’t the right financial decision, another opportunity will always come along.

Did you know?

The home equity you’ve earned
can be used in a multitude of


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Start your application online or give us a call.

  • Weekdays 8am–Midnight ET
  • Weekends 10am–6pm ET