Formal vs. Informal Offer Letter

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My wife and I are about to buy our first property. We are not going through a real estate agent, and neither is the seller. Her son does real estate in a different state, and he is reviewing our offer letter. He asked if it was a formal or informal offer letter. Does anyone know the difference?

Originally posted by @Steven Tyrrell :

My wife and I are about to buy our first property. We are not going through a real estate agent, and neither is the seller. Her son does real estate in a different state, and he is reviewing our offer letter. He asked if it was a formal or informal offer letter. Does anyone know the difference?

 He is probably talking about two things: 

1) Does the offer include the details of the transaction: price, offer expiration date, contingencies, closing date, closing company, inspection requirements, earnest money, occupancy, agency, etc. (Formal) 

or is it "We'd like to buy the house for $98,000. (Informal) 

2) Do you have funds to close and have been approved by a lender (Formal) 

or "We need some time to find a lender and see if we qualify for a loan (Informal).

Good for you for taking this step. See it through to the logical conclusion and you will be far, far ahead of the average investor when it comes to buying "off market" where all the great deals are to be found.