RECEIVING AN OFFER
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.
Our state has a very “buyer-friendly” contract process, meaning the buyer will have several opportunities to terminate the sale prior to closing. However, once the seller signs the contract, they typically do not have any more opportunities to terminate the transaction. For this reason, 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, together we will need to review the contract. Typically, your time limit for response is anywhere from several hours to several days; I will 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:
Financing (Down Payment, Type of Loan)
Closing Cost Requests
Amount of Earnest Money Deposit
Buyer Possession Date
When you receive an offer on your home, there are three ways to move forward:
Accept 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.
Ignore the offer
Not responding to an offer is always an option, although this is rare. Typically, a lack of response indicates a feeling on the seller’s part that the offer is simply too low in price, or too unacceptable on some other term, to merit attention.
I will 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 my input, you will be in a position to determine the response to the buyer that will get your home sold on mutually agreeable terms.
A counteroffer 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. The buyer has the same options as those available to the seller – 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.