VA Homebuyers Guide: Making Your Offer

You found the home you want to buy. What comes next?


It’s time to make your offer. Even if you know you’re a good buyer, doing the homework now will get your offer seen, accepted, and under contract to close!

Call your lender for “real talk” about cost

This is your money, your investment. So you want to be sure you know the details.

Be upfront, discussing monthly payments, closing costs, and any limitations, so your loan officer and agent can check into other options, if necessary. Cover your bases, and ask questions about insurance, taxes, HOA’s and the like. Also, talk about a backup offer in case the seller counters your offer. This important step will give you 100 percent confidence moving forward.

It is also good practice to at least recap this conversation with your real estate agent, or ask them to call your lender directly as well to seam any gaps in communication before the offer!

Get your “Earnest Money” together

This is a customary deposit buyers make with a serious offer on a home. You may also know this as a “good faith” deposit. If the seller doesn’t accept your offer, these funds are returned to you.

Your real estate agent will advise an appropriate amount for the property you’re offering on, but typically it’s anywhere from $100-$1,000. Personal check, money order, and cashiers’ checks are all acceptable. Cash is not acceptable for use in a mortgage transaction, so do not even consider bringing it. Don’t forget to make yourself copies of the check and receipts for good recordkeeping.

This amount of money is a lot for most buyers to consider giving up from their savings. VA buyers have assurance with the VA Amendatory Clause, or VA Financing Contingency. The VA requires this verbiage in your contract to protect you from financing a guaranteed home that does not appraise for the price agreed to on your contract.

You could luck out at the end of the day and get this money back! Once at closing, if all the balanced costs end up being covered 100% by the seller, you actually can get the money you put into the transaction back in your pocket.

Don’t fear “closing costs,” use them!

As a VA buyer, you hold a privilege no one else does. You are able to finance your home without a down payment. You are spending thousands less upfront than other buyers who are required to figure in a down payment along with closing costs. Showing your ability to share closing costs with your seller will make your offer stronger and quite possibly the contract at the end of the day. This is your leverage, and you should use it!

They said, “Yes!”

Both agents will immediately prepare the contract agreement, handle signatures, and sort out ordering inspections. Once you, the seller, and agents have signed that contract, get it to your lender immediately. The timer starts the second both parties have signed, and your responsibility as the buyer is to get your loan approved in time for closing day. It’s showtime!

If they said “no,” do not lose hope! Your agent will help advise how to make that backup, or counter-offer, if you want to try again. If not, your earnest money will be returned to you and you can keep your eyes open for the next “offer-tunity.”