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How to Bid on a House

You've found the right home in the right location and now you're ready to make an offer. Learn what steps to take to make the home yours.


  • Step 1: Choose a real estate agent Select a real estate agent who is willing to accommodate your needs and specializes in brokering the type of property you're looking for.
  • Step 2: Get prequalified Get pre-approved for a loan so you'll know exactly what you can afford.
  • TIP: Be prepared to put down between 5 and 20 percent as a down payment, depending on the type of loan and your credit rating.
  • Step 3: Research available homes Use your city's Multiple Listing Service to find and tour available homes.
  • Step 4: Select home Choose the home you want to bid on. Your agent will find comparable sales in the area to determine a good starting bid.
  • Step 5: Make bid Determine your bid price. Include your move-in timeline; the deposit, or earnest money amount, you'll pay; inspection and financial contingencies; and items, such as appliances, that you'll want included in the purchase price.
  • Step 6: Respond to the counteroffer Accept or decline any counteroffer the sellers submit. Once the haggling is finished and the contract is signed, a closing date will be set. Get ready to move in!
  • FACT: In 2009, one study about 20 percent of American homeowners – about 20 million residences – owed more than their homes were worth.

You Will Need

  • Real estate agent
  • Loan pre-approval
  • Down payment
  • Multiple Listing Service
  • Patience

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