I agree with the others regarding a home inspection. Tread lightly if considering waiving this contingency. I personally never advise anyone to do this! If you are concerned about keeping this item, shorten the timeframe on your inspections and speed up the time to the P&S. Have an inspector ready to go and get them all done within a couple days time rather than asking the seller to take their home off the market while you have them completed and review results. Also, increase both your initial deposit and your total deposit. If you would normally do $1000 to bind the offer, do $2500. If you are putting down 3.5% for an FHA program, put 5% down instead and take the rest back at closing. Personal notes are sometimes good for personal homes and will set you apart when all else is equal. They do not appeal to foreclosures (banks) or investors that have never lived in the home. Absolutly ask the listing agent what things the seller is looking for such as closing timeframes (do they have kids in school? if so they might want to wait until the summer), and how much are they really considering leaving their new fridge, washer and/or dryer (this could be thousands of dollars to them)? Also be careful about covering the appraisal difference. As someone said below, we are in a hyper competitive market which is driving prices upwards quick... you are paying a premium for this. So, if you are not in a need to buy now situation and its not a long time / dream home... consider taking a step back.