The offer is much more complicated than simply coming up with a price and saying, "This is what I’ll pay." Because of the large dollar amounts involved, especially in today’s litigious society, both you and the seller want to build in protections and contingencies to protect your investment and limit your risk.
In an offer to purchase real estate, you include not only the price you are willing to pay, but other details of the purchase as well. This includes how you intend to finance the home, your down payment, who pays what closing costs, what inspections are performed, inspection timetables, whether personal property is to be included in the purchase, terms of cancellation, any repairs you want performed, which professional services will be used, when you get physical possession of the property, and how to settle disputes should they occur.
It is certainly more involved than buying a car. And more important.
Buying a home is a major event for both the buyer and seller. It will affect your finances more than any other previous purchase or investment. The seller makes plans based on your offer that affect their finances, too. However, it is more important than just money. In the half-hour it takes to write an offer you are making decisions that will affect how you live for the next several years, if not for the rest of your life. The seller is going to review your offer carefully, because it also affects how they live the rest of their life.
That sounds dramatic, and it sounds like a cliché. Every real estate book or article you read says the same thing.
They all say it because it is true.