So you’ve made an offer on a house you really like. You’re confident, you feel good. So now what?


Write the letter. Buying a home is an emotional experience—almost as emotional as selling one, especially for people who have lived in that home for a long time. If you haven’t already, write a letter to the homeowners, telling them why you’re exactly the people who they should sell their beautiful home to. Believe it or not, it could make all the difference as the owners are mulling over a stack of otherwise equally-attractive offers.


Prepare for the counteroffer. Nobody’s in this game to lose, and if a homeowner doesn’t like your offer but otherwise is willing to deal with you, you’re going to get a counteroffer. Be ready for that and decide ahead of time if you’re willing to go any higher (or if your bank will allow you to go higher) than your original offer.


Keep shopping. Just because you really, really liked that house doesn’t mean you’re going to get it, especially in a hot market. Of course, you can’t put another offer down until the first one gets officially rejected; but keep looking anyway.


Just like life, it’s the little things that can make a big difference, and home buying is no exception. Remember to stay cool, think ahead and stay prepared.