Moving to California Tips: Making an Offer on a House

Knowing how to make an offer could be the difference when it comes to landing your dream home (or not). Follow these tips when moving to California.

1. The Offer

Once a house has caught your attention, find out what the story is. You’ll need to ask questions in order to come up with your best offer. How long has the house been on the market? Are there other offers on the table? Is there a specific day when the seller will review the offers?

Similarly, you can dial in how much to offer by learning about the seller. If you’re moving to California look into why they’re selling the house and what their motivations are. Keep that information in mind, and then start diving into the specific numbers and trends of the Redding real estate market.

Your real estate agent should assist you with doing a comparative market analysis. This will give you detailed information on not just what houses are listing for, but more importantly what they are selling for. On top of this, you can do your own research by looking into comparable home sales. Piece these components together with your knowledge of the house and the seller, and you’ll land on the perfect offer amount.


If you land on a offer that is much lower than the asking price, offer an explanation. Write a letter that recaps your offer and explains how you arrived to that number. Include information from your comparative market analysis, and prevent the seller from being shocked or confused.

2. The Waiting Game

After you’ve submitted your offer, the waiting game begins. To prevent yourself from being left in the dark for an undefined amount of time, add contingencies and ways to escape your offer. The most common type are inspection and financing contingencies.

With an inspection contingency, you could mention something along the lines that the seller has to make the home available within a certain number of days for you to bring in a professional inspector. And you’ll also want to be sure to outline what happens if the inspection uncovers any potential problems that must be addressed.

Another common contingency used when moving to California is based on financing. If for some reason you can’t secure a loan, a financing contingency will let you back out of the sale without losing your earnest money. However, this very rarely happens if you’re pre-approved, so we recommend taking care of that before you try to tackle a market with houses in high demand. Being pre-approved shows the seller that you’re serious and reliable.


Once you’ve made the offer, your agent will take it from there. They’ll meet with the seller’s agent to present the offer, then get back to you with the response. Since you won’t be communicating directly with the seller, you won’t need to worry about keeping on a poker face or hiding emotion. In the meantime, be prepared by knowing which loan type is best for you.

3. The Response

Finally. Your agent will get back to you with the news – the seller has either accepted your offer, rejected it outright, or made a counter-offer. If they accept the offer within the terms that you outlined, you are now locked in and start thinking of ways to minimize closing costs.

If they reject your offer, they either accepted another offer or yours wasn’t close enough to what they wanted and it’s not worth continuing the conversation.

The last scenario is a counteroffer. The seller will respond asking for more money, or perhaps they will rebuttal by saying they want to keep the appliances or request a later closing date.

In the vast majority of cases of when moving to California, you will receive a counter offer (unless you really nailed it). Then the ball is back in your court with the clock ticking. The seller will give you a deadline, similar to what you did for them. This back and forth negotiating can go on for a few hours or a few days until you reach an agreement that gets the deal done.


If you can’t come to an agreement you’re both satisfied live, walk away. The contract is cancelled and you’ll get your earnest money back. Rarely does a buyer score the first house they offer on (and it’s not the end of the world if you don’t.) There will be plenty more of houses for sale in Redding.

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