Once a buyer is interested in making an offer on your home, the buyer’s agent will prepare a “purchase and sales agreement”, or real estate contract. This written document will lay out all the terms and conditions of the sale, as proposed by the buyer.
It is critical that you clearly understand – and are in agreement with – the final terms of the contract.
Once an offer is written, the buyer’s agent (also called the “selling agent”) will deliver this offer to your agent (the “listing agent”). Some selling agents prefer to present their offer in person; others will deliver it via email. Regardless of how the offer is received, you and your listing agent need to review the contract. Typically, your time limit for response is anywhere from several hours to several days; your agent can advise you as to whether the allotted time is reasonable for your market.
When reviewing the offer, some of the key points you’ll want to consider are:
- Purchase price
- Down payment amount / percentage
- Type of loan (conventional, FHA, VA)
- Closing cost requests
- Inspection clauses
- Title reviews
- Choice of escrow agent
- Closing date
- Buyer’s possession date
As a seller, you have three options upon receipt of the offer.
- Accept the offer as written.
- Counter the offer on those terms and conditions which are not acceptable to you.
- Reject the offer.
Acceptance of the offer, as written, puts buyer and seller in a position of “mutual acceptance”, and is the trigger for counting the days for the purposes of deadlines.
A counteroffer from the seller to the buyer allows the buyer a specified period of time to accept the seller’s offer, after which point the offer expires with no contractual obligation on the part of either the buyer or the seller. Upon receipt of a counteroffer from the seller, a buyer has the same options as those available to the seller when reviewing the original offer – acceptance of the offer as written, a counteroffer to the other party, or a decision not to respond to the offer. The number of counteroffers made between buyer and seller are limited only by the interest of the parties to continue to negotiate toward an agreement. .
Rejecting an offer is simply that. The Seller will be asked to initial the first page as proof to the buyer that they had indeed received it.
Your agent should provide guidance as you review offers, and can assist you in determining if the terms and conditions offered are appropriate for your marketplace. Ultimately, with your agent’s input, you will be in a position to determine the response to the buyer that will get your home sold on mutually agreeable terms.
Once we have a mutually agreed-upon offer, I will provide you with a “pending-to-close” calendar. This document will detail all the activities which need to occur between the time we accept the offer, and the time the buyers take possession of your home. It’s an easy to reference, visual tool to help us all stay on track. This along with my phone and or e-mail updates will keep you informed of how the process is progressing every step of the way.