Making an Offer

After you have found the right home and decided you are ready to purchase it, you will need to enter into a written contract, which begins with the written offer.

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Written proposal

The basis of a real estate transaction is a written proposal. Included in this proposal are the price and the terms and conditions of the purchase. All terms and promises must be included in the written offer.

A real estate professional will be the one to write up your purchase offer and answer any questions you may have. If you choose to not work with a real estate agent, you will be responsible for writing the purchase offer or contract that includes all terms of the sale and conforms to state and local law. Make sure that you are aware of all of the state laws and provisions that may be required in your area. Finally, after the offer is drawn up and signed, it will be presented to the seller by your real estate agent, the seller’s real estate agent, or both. In some areas it will be required that your sales contract be drawn up by an attorney.

Earnest money

This is a deposit you give when making an offer on a house. This deposit is expected by the seller in order to show “good faith” in a purchase. A real estate professional or attorney holds this payment, which will eventually become part of your down payment or will be returned to you if your offer is declined.

The Seller's response to your offer

As soon as you are notified that the seller has accepted your written offer, your contract becomes binding. If instead the offer is rejected, it is important to find out what the specific issues were with the offer so you can be aware of them as you continue your home search.

It is also common to receive a written counter offer from the seller. This occurs when the seller likes everything except the sale price, the closing date, etc. You can accept, reject, or make your own counteroffer. For example, “We accept the counteroffer with the new closing date, but we do not accept the higher price”.

When either party makes a change in the terms, the other side can accept, reject or counter it as many times as they choose. The binding contract only begins once both parties sign an unconditional acceptance of the other side’s proposal.

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