Before making an offer - it's always good to have a discussion with your lender to get yourself pre-approved.
Presenting an offer to purchase is the first step to purchasing your new home. The offer does much more than just say what price the buyer is willing to pay for the home. It describes many other conditions or agreements between the buyer and the seller, like "does the refrigerator stay?" "what do I do with the house I still own?" and "what happens if there is a problem with my bank?" Offers can be pretty straightforward or very complicated. You should contact an attorney to draft the offer for you. Your attorney can help you to think through all of the available options and make sure the offer fits your needs and protects your interest.
Sellers almost always require Buyers to pay amount of earnest money (sometimes called "good faith deposit") with the offer, or very soon after the offer is accepted. Earnest money is important because it demonstrates the Buyer's intent to complete the purchase of the property. The earnest money may be kept by the Seller, or held in trust by Seller's (or Buyer's) attorney, to be credited towards the purchase price of the home at closing. It is always a good idea for both Buyers and Sellers to consult with an attorney or real estate professional at the first sign of a problem with the completion of the sale. Usually the piece of mind that comes along with this professional help is worth the cost of 250-500 dollars.