You've been shopping for a new house and have seen a lot of homes but you've finally found "The One." Congratulations! Now you'll need to make an offer and close the deal. If you've never bought a home before, you may wonder how that works or what to expect. We have some tips that should help prepare you for this final part of buying a home.
First, know that an offer is legal proposal to buy a house and, if the seller accepts your offer, it is legally binding. You should be 100% certain that you are ready to make an offer and that you are fine with everything in it.
You can make an offer conditional if necessary. You could set conditions on the sale such as having a home inspection done and the home passing inspection, the seller having to repair an issue, or most anything else. This way, if the conditions aren't met, you can cancel the sale. However, be very sparing in the number of conditions you put on a sale. Offers that are full of conditions will often get declined and another offer may be taken. You don't want to lose out on your dream home so stick to conditions that are reasonable.
You can (and some would advise should) use a lawyer to look over an offer and advise you before you submit it. It is a legal document so some people feel more comfortable having a legal opinion on it plus they facilitate the transfer of money and the deed recording.
Your offer will include your name and the name and address of the seller. You'll indicate the price you're offering and if there are any items that you'd like to be included in that price such as appliances (built-ins typically stay anyway), that amazing chandelier in the front entry, or those great custom made drapes in the living room that would be difficult to replace plus any other conditions such as repairs or inspections.
You'll also include your financial details such as your deposit and financing as well as the date you want to take possession of the home, a copy of a current land survey and a date that the offer expires. Sellers typically get 48 to 72 hours to return with a response.
The seller's response with either be to accept, reject or make a counter-offer. A counter-offer means that the seller has rejected your offer but is making you another offer to buy, often changing a condition, date or price. Now it's up to you to accept or reject the seller's offer or even make another counter-offer. You aren't legally bound yet and could still walk away if you want to look elsewhere.
It's not uncommon for there to be a little back and forth between the buyer and seller if the initial offer isn't at full price and unconditional so don't worry. This is just a process of getting terms that are agreeable to everyone. Just remember not to get too emotional and attached or you could cause yourself to offer and accept terms that are above what you wanted to pay. Keep a level head when negotiating.
When you offer has been accepted, your realtor and lawyer will handle everything at this point. It just a matter of getting your deposit and financing to the lawyer, then the house will be registered in your name and you'll get the keys to your new home. The next thing you'll be doing is moving in! Maybe you need one of our blogs on moving with kids or pets. You'll find links below.