Charlotte Home Buyer Tips | Do’s and Don’ts When Making an Offer

Charlotte Home Buyer Tips | Do’s and Don’ts When Making An Offer on a Charlotte Home for Sale

What Price Should Charlotte Home Buyers Offer?Wise Charlotte home buyers ask this question of their Charlotte real estate agent –  “What do I offer on that Charlotte NC home for sale and how do we arrive at that number?”  As a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) and Accredited Buyers Agent (ABR), my job requirement for you is to provide the information that you need to make an informed decision (hence, an informed Offer).  The first, and most important detail in the home buying process, once you’ve located the home of your dreams, is to gather all of the available information to help you make that decision.

Gone are the days of the 50-75-even 90% list-to-Offer prices!  Even though we had the extremely rare instance of these hefty discounts in the Charlotte real estate market, they did occur nationally and made quite the deal-to-beat for home buyers!  With the market in full rebound now, if you make an ‘insulting’ Offer on a property, chances are, you will get no response and will have lost respect from the sellers–you want their ‘positive’ attention, not negative!  Remember, this is likely our largest investment in your life; don’t go this alone–utilize the expertise of your Charlotte real estate agent!  This is our job to provide you the details that you do and don’t need to make that Offer on your dream home that the seller will consider.

Do’s and Don’ts of making that Offer on Charlotte homes for sale are as follows:


  • …A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). – We will provide you with a detailed comparative market analysis (CMA) for the Charlotte home for sale in which you are interested.  This will include comparable home sales in the last 3-12 months with a focus on the sales over the last 3 months as the market is ever-changing.  These comparable properties are best determined by distance (within 1 mile), style, age, number of bedrooms, baths, square footage, updates, lot size, etc.
  • …Confirm the Schools. – If you are a Charlotte home buyer that is searching for a property in a particular school zone, it is imperative that you confirm the school assignments WITH the school system prior to making your Offer.
  • …Ask, “How is the Market in the Area?” – A comprehensive market absorption trend should be completed to show you just how the market in the area of the home that you’re interested in is doing.  This information from the past 3-, 6-, and 12-month periods will include:
    • Number of sales over the past 3, 6 and 12 months
    • List-to-sales price ratio
    • Average days on the market
    • Price per square foot
    • Average sales prices
  • …Have an Understanding of the Property’s Location. – Is it a waterfront property?  Is it in an in-town neighborhood?  If so, you will want to drill down as far as possible into the market analysis as these properties do go for a premium but, sometimes sellers may be a bit greedy and feel that because of the location of the property, they should make more on the sale than is truly realistic.
  • …Know Whether Any of the Above Sales Were Distressed Properties. –  Distressed properties are typically not used as comparables by a qualified appraiser.  However, if there are no non-distressed re-sales in the neighborhood/area, they will use these properties.  Or, if the community is heavy in distressed sales, then they may use a few of them as well.  As your Charlotte real estate agent to determine which recent sales, if any, were distressed.
  • …Ask, “Is This Home a Distressed Property? – Distressed properties, whether they be foreclosures, real estate owned (REO’s) or short sales, are already listed at a discount or typically as close to as low as the bank will consider selling them.  We will present you a detailed history, including mortgage/bank balances so that you can easily determine an appropriate price to Offer the bank or short sale seller.
  • …Ask, “Are there Multiple Offers on the Property?”  Believe it or not, we are seeing a high percentage of multiple Offers on homes that have been renovated, are in the popular areas and are priced to SELL!  Consult your agent as to how to best approach a multiple Offer scenario.  Knowing how to ‘win’ in a multiple Offer situation is key in negotiating and winning the property.
  • …Determine if the Home is in a Flood Zone. – Before presenting your Offer, have your agent confirm whether or not the property is in a flood zone.  If so, is that flood zone a regulated zone, 100-year flood zone (requiring insurance) or is the structure in the flood zone at all?  You may want to confirm with your lender prior to making an Offer on the property as to their guidelines with regards to flood insurance.
  • …Get Pre-Approved by a Lender. –  Many Charlotte home buyers are not aware that including a pre-approval letter from your lender WITH your Offer will give you more negotiating power.  If you need a list of qualified lenders who routinely provide excellent customer service to our clients, let me know.  I’m happy to provide that for you.
  • …Know That If You Are Paying Cash… – Charlotte home sellers are not as ‘excited’ about cash Offers as they once were!  Granted, there are no lenders to worry about with cash Offers but, we tend to see more buyers who are offering cash, terminate (or walk) from the Contract than if they are working with a lender.  Cash USED to be KING but, these days, sellers are just fine with a pre-approved buyer!  Don’t attempt to ‘low-ball’ the sellers if you’re presenting a cash Offer–Charlotte home sellers will just wait for a better Offer to come along instead of considering an insulting Offer.
  • …Find Out Just How Motivated the Seller Really IS! – This is a bit ‘iffy’ when it comes to TRULY knowing the sellers’ motivation!  We can discuss with one another, VERY little information (amongst Realtors®).  However, sometimes sellers permit us to divulge that they are relocating, etc.  Oftentimes our buyers can discern for themselves the motivation:
    • Is the home vacant?  If so, you will typically find a more motivated seller.
    • If not and you can’t tell if staging or residual furniture has been left behind, check the refrigerator!
    • If it’s empty, chances are, the seller is motivated!
    • Conversely, if the home is being lived in and has been on the market for quite some time with no price reductions, this oftentimes demonstrates an UN-motivated seller!


  • …Base Your Offer on the Recorded Tax Value. – Tax value is merely a snapshot in time of what the county tax appraisers determined was the value of the home.  Charlotte property tax values were last reassessed in February, 2011, and the market has changed a lot since then.
  • …Worry What the Seller Paid for the House. –  So many Charlotte home buyers feel that the seller shouldn’t make anything on the sale of their home ‘in this market!‘  Conversely, some buyers see that the homeowner is ‘upside down’ on their mortgage and actually feel badly making their Offers where they should actually make them.  Either way, use your data obtained with recent sales, etc. in order to make an informed decision; don’t base it upon what the seller paid.  NOTE:  **Buyers have a valuable safety net these days, with appraisals being incredibly strict.  If the home doesn’t appraise, the banks aren’t going to lend more money on the property than the home is actually worth.
  • ...Go Solely on Price-Per-Square-Foot. – A very ‘easy’ and natural assessment for both agents and buyers to use, does NOT show you the total picture of a home’s true value.  Real property is also assessed by location, condition (including updates), market condition and more.  Don’t be tempted to go only on the value based upon square footage.
  • ...Rely on National Aggregate Site’s Data. –  As stated in the fine print disclosure from XY-Zillow,  their estimated home values can be as much as 35% off in our area!  That is significant when you’re making an Offer based on that value.  Bear in mind that these values are computer-generated and do not take into consideration the TRUE value of the property’s VALUABLE assets such as condition and location.  Save yourself the embarrassment of an unattractive Offer by allowing your Realtor® to provide LOCAL data.  Remember that these national aggregate sites are NOT located in Charlotte–how on EARTH do they think that they can come up with factual data for Charlotte home buyers to make an informed decision on what to Offer on a property?
  • …Just TRY a ‘Low-Ball’ Offer! – Charlotte home sellers have all heard the horror stories other sellers receiving morbidly low-ball Offers!  They are standing firm with their pricing these days so, be sure that you’ve reviewed the data that we’ve provided you to make a ‘decent‘ Offer on a home.  You just never know if there is someone else out there about to ‘pounce‘ on a property also and suppose a buyer shows up with your $300K Offer on a $400K home and another buyer presents a $375K Offer–who is the seller going to WANT to work with?  Certainly NOT the low-ball Offer!  Be realistic when presenting an Offer on that Charlotte home for sale.

Interested in More Charlotte Home Buyer Tips?  

We work with buyers on a daily basis and are happy to provide you with more of the do’s and don’ts when making an Offer on a Charlotte home for sale–as well as other buyer tips to help you achieve a successful home purchase.


Charlotte Home Buyer TipsStep 1:  Develop a plan

Step 2:  Select a Realtor®

Step 3:  Get that loan pre-approval

Step 4:  Let’s go shopping!

Step 5:  Making an Offer

Step 6:  Finalizing your financing

Step 7:  Let’s talk inspections!

Step 8:  The devil is in the details

Step 9:  The walk-through

Step 10:  It’s time to nest

If you’re thinking of buying a home in Charlotte, give me a call at (704) 491-3310 or email me at


©Debe Maxwell | Savvy + Company Real Estate | Charlotte Home Buyer Tips | Do’s and Don’ts When Making an Offer


I am a full-time REALTOR® personally specializing in historic homes and luxury home sales in the Charlotte NC real estate market. My team specializes in a variety of areas including first time home buyers, condos and townhomes as well as single family home sales and marketing.   Follow me on Google+

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