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How to Make an Offer on a House in NYC

Email the seller or listing agent and include a REBNY Financial Statement, a loan pre-approval letter if you will be financing your purchase, proof of funds if you are making an all cash offer, any contingencies, any closing date preferences, your down payment amount as well as your offer price. We’ll explain in detail how to make an offer on a house in NYC in the following article, and go over some additional items you can include in your email to make your offer more credible.

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What Items Are Required to Submit an Offer?

REBNY Financial Statement – This is a standardized, personal financial statement used by real estate agents in NYC. This form provides a snapshot and summary of the buyer’s finances, and details the buyer’s income, assets and liabilities.

This form is required if you are financing your purchase, and will often be asked for even if you are purchasing all cash. You can download a REBNY Financial Statement Template here.

Loan Pre-Approval Letter – This is required to submit an offer if you are planning on getting a mortgage or loan. The listing agent will want to see that a credible financial institution has already partially underwritten your file and has initially approved you for a loan. Please understand the difference between a prequalification letter vs pre-approval letter. The latter is much more serious and is what you’ll need to submit with any offer letter.

Proof of Funds – This is only typically required for all cash buyers and can consist of a bank or investment account statement that demonstrates sufficient cash to complete the purchase. It can also help reassure the seller that you’re serious about buying if you provide proof of funds even if you are getting a loan. You can cross out sensitive account numbers.

Contingencies – The most common contingency you’ll see in NYC is the mortgage or financing contingency. This contingency allows buyers to back out of a signed contract if they are unable to secure a commitment lender within a certain number of days. It’s sufficient to just ask for a financing or mortgage contingency without going into further detail at this stage.

Closing Date – This can be important if you have a lease on your current apartment expiring soon or if you’re trying to coordinate a 1031 exchange. Alternatively, you don’t have to include this section or you can even say that you’re flexible in terms of closing date to make your offer more digestible for the seller.

Down Payment – It’s standard practice to say how much you will be putting down, even if you’re not totally sure yet at this early stage. You can always say that you’re able to put up to a certain percent or dollar amount down, even if you end up putting a down a smaller down payment.

Offer Price – You obviously can’t submit an offer without an offer price. This is the most important part of the offer email and is often mentioned at the beginning. If your offer price is the same as the asking price or above it, then this fact is often highlighted and bolded in offer emails.

Pro Tip: Now you know how to make an offer on a house in NYC, but the next question is when to make an offer on a house in NYC. Read our article to learn more about the optimal time to submit your offer, and whether you should wait to submit your offer if there is an upcoming open house.

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What Else Can You Include in an Offer Email?

Attorney Contact Information – While it’s not absolutely required to include the buyer’s attorney’s contact information at the offer stage, it’s nice to do so if you already have a lawyer lined up. This demonstrates seriousness on your part and credibility that your lawyer truly is ready to review a contract ASAP.

If you don’t have an attorney yet, you can always just say in the offer email that you’re happy to send over the buyer’s lawyer contact information if there is something to do, and that they buyer has an experienced real estate lawyer on standby ready to review the contract immediately.

Biography – While not absolutely required, it’s nice to give the seller an idea of who you are. You don’t need to go crazy with this if you do decide to include a biography. A paragraph or two maximum will be totally sufficient.

Offer Letter – Some home buyers go a step further and include a personal letter to the seller. This letter is often used to give the seller a more personalized introduction to the buyers, and to personally explain who the buyers are. A highly personal, touching home buyer offer letter can help buyers win a bidding war if other offers are roughly equivalent.

Pro Tip: An important tip for how to make an offer on a house in NYC is to put yourself in others’ shoes. For example, include your short biographer inline in the offer email vs as an attachment. This will save inbox space for everyone!

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Are Offers Binding Once Made?

Real estate offers are not binding in NYC no matter how formally and officially your offer was submitted. Offers are not binding whether they were submitted verbally, by email or by paper. In fact, an offer is only binding in New York once contracts are signed.

A contract essentially becomes binding for a buyer once he or she has signed the contract and given up the contract deposit. That’s because once the buyer’s attorney has sent these to the seller’s attorney, the seller could theoretically counter-sign the contract and deposit the good faith deposit into the seller’s attorney’s escrow account at any time.

However, because the seller is last to act, the seller could back out of a deal at any point before counter-signing a contract. This means a seller could shop a buyer’s signed contract in an effort to get a higher offer from someone else, and then take a higher offer and reject the buyer’s signed contract.

Pro Tip: Buyers’ attorneys can try to protect their buyers by negotiating into the contract that the contract will only be considered to be fully executed after the buyer’s attorney has confirmed in writing that he or she has received a fully executed copy of the contract.

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Disclosure: Hauseit and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, financial and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. The services marketed on Hauseit.com are provided by licensed real estate brokers and other third party professional service providers. Hauseit LLC is not a licensed real estate broker nor a member of any multiple listing service (MLS).

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