You have been searching for that perfect home, vacation home or condominium ad you have finally found the one!  The home is priced right, and in a competitive market that you want to make sure you make a good offer, that will get the attention of the seller and give you the opportunity to own this home.  Chris Bowden, Senior Vice President of Homesteps, recently shared four tips for making an offer in their Executive Perspective Newsletter from Company Leaders on key trends in housing finance and how Freddie Mac is supporting the nations housing recovery.

The first tip is to understand how much you can afford.  This includes the purchase price, as well as the taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance costs.

It is important to know what these costs are so you can make an informed decision on which property will be the best choice for your particular situation.  If you are considering a condominium, be sure to inquire about any potential assessments, and understand what is included in the monthly maintenance fees.

The second tip is to act fast.  According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report, Nationally the inventory of homes for sale is currently at a 3.6-month supply; while here in Southwest Florida we are seeing a more normal market with closer to a six month supply.  Buyer demand is strong, especially this time of year, which can cause buyers to compete with each other on desirable properties. Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as soon as possible.

The third tip contained in the report was to make a solid offer and they offered the following advice:

Freddie Mac offers this advice to help make your offer the strongest it can be:

“Your strongest offer will be comparable with other sales and listings in the neighborhood. A licensed real estate agent active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer based on their experience and other key considerations such as recent sales of similar homes, the condition of the house and what you can afford.

By working with a respected agent that not only knows the market, but has a strong reputation of working well with other realtors, you will be able to work together to create a solid offer.

The fourth tip is to be prepared to negotiate. While in a perfect world the seller would just accept the offer as presented that is not usually the case.

“It's likely that you'll get at least one counteroffer from the sellers so be prepared. The two things most likely to be negotiated are the selling price and closing date. Given that, you'll be glad you did your homework first to understand how much you can afford. Your agent will also be key in the negotiation process, giving you guidance on the counteroffer and making sure that the agreed-to contract terms are met.”

Whether buying your first home or your fifth, having a local professional on your side who is an expert in their market is your best bet to make sure the process goes smoothly.