The amount of the the earnest money deposit; the method of financing, any contingencies; for example an offer spells out what you're buying in the contract. Common items to be specified include appliances, light fixtures, shades and drapes, storm windows, and flowers, shrubs and trees.
An offer can determine what special provisions should be included, such as for property taxes, insurance costs and utility bills; the closing date and possession date you want. Your Agent can tell you who typically acts as a settlement agent in your area.
And finally, other things like a discussion of closing costs, home insurance plans, inspection issues, and the costs associate with such things are also included.
I absolutely recommend a real estate professional to at least answer questions you have. It's a lot of paperwork. A good agent can guide you through the process & make sure it goes as smoothly as possible for you. In addition to the main points already posted, I recommend getting a professional home inspection before committing any funds. Also, if possible, inspect the property yourself.
There are also many resources online & I would recommend doing your home work as well as consulting a professional. We're here to help!
1) Price offered
2) Contingencies (loan, appraisal, inspection) loan information (if needed), and dates/times you will have to remove these contingencies
3) Escrow Period (how long will it be from acceptance to closing - typical these days is 30-45 days)
4) A copy of your deposit check
5) A pre-approval letter from one, or even better two, lenders (or if a cash purchase, proof of funds to close)
6) A personal letter stating your desire to own the home and adding a personal touch to an otherwise boring document!
I hope this helps you as these should be the main aspects of your offer.
Also, I am a very active agent in 90064 and lived there for many years so when you are ready please contact me for an interview.
Each state has their own style of offer forms. Basic information would be offer price, contingencies -home inspections-financing and what type (FHA, VA, 3% down, 5% etc)-amount of deposit-closing date-approval date-and so on. I know you said that you are just starting your search, but you really should have an agent to help you from beginning to end-don't wait until you find a home to contact one. Good luck in your search, and if you need any help finding an agent that you feel comfortable with to represent you, let me know. I can have a local professional contact you asap to schedule an interview.
Sounds like you're flying by the "seat of your pants" and you're looking to take on passengers.
If you are buying or selling solo, there are so many ways to encounter problems, our recommendation is to find an experienced pilot and let him/her land this one.
If you have your own representation, then that agent should gladly step you through writing the offer and the different aspects of it.