6 Mistakes to Avoid When Making a Offer on Your Dream Home

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties DC AB15253

If you find your dream home in these days of tight inventory, then you should pull out all the stops to walk away the winner.  In competitive housing markets across the country, putting together the winning offer can be difficult. Don’t make the process even tougher by succumbing to one of these common mistakes.

Matching your lender letter to your offer

As a smart buyer you know how important it is to get preapproved to show a seller you are financially able to purchase a home. However, you shouldn’t use that document to come up with an offer amount.

If your preapproval letter is for the exact offer price, it could make a listing agent nervous because it appears that you do not have any wiggle room to negotiate, and might no longer qualify if interest rates rise.

Submitting a lowball offer

Lowballing a seller can backfire, particularly in a seller’s market. A lowball offer that isn't backed up with math or comparable sales data may be seen as disrespectful and could turn off the seller.  Remember – just because you can doesn’t mean that you should.


Being slow to put in that offer means you could wind up paying more in a bidding war situation or missing out on the property altogether.  Remember – if you think it is a good home then someone else will too. As a buyer you need to be ready with your paperwork, such as a preapproval letter, and documents supporting proof of funds, from the first day that you begin house-hunting mode. That way you can move quickly quickly with an offer when you find that dream house.  You want to go as far as possible with your loan application process, submitting all the documents your lender asks for, so that you can close as quickly as the seller’s schedule dictates.

Waiving inspection contingencies

Please do not waive your inspection contingency.  If you are in a competitive bid situation you can ask the listing agent to let you do a pre-offer inspection.  That way you can make sure that your interests are protected and you know whether there are any issues about the house that may cause problems later.  Remember, if you waive the inspection contingency in your offer and then discover a significant issue later and want to back out of the deal, you will likely lose your earnest money deposit. 

Not presenting yourself well

In a seller’s market, buyers need to take steps to make sure they look to the seller and the listing agent. In a multiple bid situation, the listing agent is trying to figure out which buyer will be the easiest to work with. Even if the contract is the highest offer but filled with requests such as an extended home inspection or a home sale contingency, the listing agent may recommend that the seller take another offer.

Make sure the seller knows you love the house

The seller is more likely to select the buyer who lets him or her know that the house is going to be loved by the future owner! Buyers who act less than enthusiastic will see themselves at a competitive disadvantage when the sellers are comparing multiple offers because the seller and listing agent want to know that the buyer is really committed tot he purchase.  I recently had a listing with competitive bids.  The seller picked the buyer who left a note on their white board in the kitchen saying how much they loved the house - and then the buyer posted on her Facebook page about the fantastic house they had just seen! Time to get out that paper and pen to write a ltter to the seller about how you are looking forward to living in your dream home if the seller will just pick your offer! 


If you need help putting together a strong offer to beat out the competition for your dream home, please give the Lise Howe Group a call at 240-401-5577 or email us at lise@lisehowe.com.  We hate losing as much as you do! Together we will get you that perfect home! 



Re-Blogged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Gabe Sanders 06/10/2017 11:45 PM
  2. Joan Cox 06/28/2017 01:40 PM
  3. MaryKay Shumway 07/29/2017 11:47 AM
  4. Praful Thakkar 08/30/2017 08:37 AM
Home Buying
District of Columbia
lender letter
preoffer inspection
letter to the seller

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Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning, Lise Howe all good points for buyers to absorb if thinking of buying a home.... but there's one missing.... the first one should be to call Lise Howe for guidance with that task... and, if that wise choice is made, all of the points will be covered for sure!!

May 31, 2017 05:49 AM #1
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Great share!!! Thanks

Lowballing a seller can backfire, particularly in a seller’s market. A lowball offer that isn't backed up with math or comparable sales data may be seen as disrespectful and could turn off the seller.  Remember – just because you can doesn’t mean that you should.

May 31, 2017 05:54 AM #2
Harry F. D'Elia III
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

Why would anybody wavie the inspection? That baffles my mind when people do it.

May 31, 2017 06:00 AM #3
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Geneva Financial, Llc. - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

Hey, Lise Howe this is a great post from you and as I red it, I kept asking myself, "Did I present myself well with that potential buyer last evening?"  I hope I did!!

May 31, 2017 06:02 AM #4
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Lise, great tips for buyers to secure the home of their dreams!   In our frenzied Seller's market low ball offers will never work.

May 31, 2017 06:05 AM #5
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Joan Cox - it is amazing to me when people try to do that - and even adding an escalation clause doesn't make up for the damage done! 

May 31, 2017 06:07 AM #6
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

HI Lise, 

All great reasons to avoid.  I always advocate doing inspections for the reasons you stated. 

May 31, 2017 11:09 AM #7
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

These are all good points, Lise and will help a buyer get closer to a successful offer and into their new home.

May 31, 2017 03:18 PM #8
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Good morning Lise.  Around here if you offer list price you'll lose the bid.  I've seen homes go for upwards of 10K over list and still not win.

Jun 01, 2017 01:45 AM #9
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Good morning Lise.  Excellent tips for buyers and their agents for making a good strong winning offer.

Jun 01, 2017 05:28 AM #10
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is timely advice for prospective home buyers.

Have a great Friday and an outstanding weekend.

Jun 02, 2017 04:29 AM #11
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Lise Howe - Theseare  wise words for prospective buyers. You put together a very useful post for consumers that is clearly very important information. 

Jun 03, 2017 04:41 AM #12
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I agree with Barbara. I hope home buyers will read this post

Jun 11, 2017 02:37 AM #13
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Lise Howe ,

What a great list for buyers and their agents to understand when submitting offers. I'm glad Gabe Sanders re-blogged it! I missed it.

Jun 11, 2017 05:03 AM #14
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Hi Lise!  What wonderful tips to help buyers avoid the common pitfalls when presenting an Offer!  Low-balling is a sure-fired way to never be able to recover with a seller in today's market - for SURE!  

Jun 11, 2017 07:49 AM #15
Shahar Hillel
Augusta Financial Inc. - Stevenson Ranch, CA
Mortgage Consultant, Loan Officer.

Lisa hello.

Thank you for this post. Very valuable and useful information to buyers.


Jun 11, 2017 06:49 PM #16
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


Great insight on the 6 mistakes to Avoid when Making a Offer on Your Dream Home.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Jun 11, 2017 08:31 PM #17
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Lise Howe

Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC
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