Getting An Offer On Your Home

Once you have an offer it is time to negotiate the best deal possible. Even if offers don’t match the price you want, don’t reject them immediately, always counter an offer, it’s the only way to get a negotiation started.

Your agent should go over all the contract with you and discuss how the offer can help you reach your goals. Offers will include:

  • Price

  • Hand Money (also called Earnest Money), a deposit the buyer puts down to guarantee they will hold up their end of the deal

  • Sellers Assist, this is assistance the buyer wants with their closing costs. Lenders will allow up to 3% or 6% depending on the type of loan

  • Closing Date

  • Reply Date, when they want an answer back on their offer

  • Contingencies (reasons they can back out of the deal and still get their hand money back), typically these are carve outs for contingencies on inspections, time to get a mortgage finalized and the appraisal on the home

  • Inspections, the kind they plan to do and how long they have to do them and notify you if they intend to move forward with the sale

  • Inclusions, personal property that might be included in the sale

Be sure to ask questions and clearly understand the timelines and your obligations when you sign an offer on your home.

After you have a signed contract, the buyer will set up home inspections. These can include inspection on the home, for radon, for lead-based paint, inspections of a well, septic system or video scope of the sewer line and reviews of surveys, zoning and insurability. Based on the findings of the inspections the buyer may decide to accept the home, terminate the deal or negotiate repairs as part of the purchase. Talk with your agent about the best way to go about this. You will likely have to weight the benefits of moving forward with this deal vs. putting your home back on the market. Also consider the fact that once you know about a defect in your home you will be obligated to disclose it to potential buyers.

If the buyer is getting a mortgage the buyer’s lender will order an appraisal to verify that the home is worth the amount that they are lending.

All these steps, and a few others, have specific timelines that are outlined in the sales contract. It’s important to pay attention to those dates so you don’t forfeit any of your rights in the sales process.