When you are buying a home, there are many little steps that no one ever really discusses. Even things like putting together a list of questions to ask a seller or making an offer on the property require specific procedures.
When it comes to finally making an offer to a seller, it’s normal to have questions. More specifically, who gives the offer to the seller? And also, what should you expect to happen after you make an offer?
If you’re working with a real estate agent, you and your real estate agent will formulate an offer together. After you put together the offer, your real estate agent will hand it to the seller’s agent.
If you decide to make an offer and are not working with an agent, you will be responsible for presenting the offer to the seller’s agent.
If both parties are working without agents, then you will need to be the one to hand off the offer directly to the seller.
In most other transactions, a verbal offer can be made. In real estate, that’s not the case. A real estate offer involves a lot more than verbally settling on a price. Your offer will outline how you want the entire buying process to go. The offer will typically involve the following features:
- The Price: How much will you pay? Who will pay for the closing costs? The full price will need to be laid out, including tax and sales fees. If you have a mortgage on the line, this also means that you may be required to ask for an appraisal.
- Commissions: Part of a standard offer letter includes the price you will need to pay for real estate agent commissions, as well as any other fees that may need to be accounted for.
- Payment Arrangements: How will you pay? Will there be a bank involved, and if so, what contingencies do they have? What is the time frame you are going to have? Which title agency are you going to go to use?
- Contingencies: Do you have any conditions that are mandatory if you want this deal to go through? What about the home inspection or the repairs that you want to have done? The offer will have to feature all the notes that need to be completed.
- Additional Notes: You may also be able to discuss the move-in date, important matters of a kick-out clause, as well as any penalties that you may need to be addressed before the sale date. Some buyers also may add a heartfelt letter expressing their desire for the home.
In some states, offer letters need to be notarized before they can be handed off. Your real estate agent will guide you on this issue and advise you on what to do.
Once the offer has been sent over to the seller’s agent, the “Waiting Game” starts. This means that buyers will have to wait while the seller takes a look at each option. Once sellers have looked over the offers they received, they will decide on who gets the home.
At times, this entire process can take several days. Other times, there will be a several week wait period. This is more common in areas where homes may be in high demand. It’s the seller’s way of ensuring that they get the best possible offer.
Generally speaking, you should expect one of three things to happen:
1. Offer Accepted!
Yay, you get to go forward on the terms you suggested. You are now locked into a deal, and you can expect to plan out your move. This is the best possible outcome you can get after you send out an offer in most situations.
2. A Counter-Offer
Sometimes, sellers may choose to make a counter-offer that has small changes to the offer you make. You can choose to accept it, decline it, or make a counter-offer of your own. In most cases, the counter-offer signifies that you still have a good shot at the house.
3. Offer Declined!
If they chose another offer or just don’t want to entertain your offer, they’ll decline it. At this point, you might be able to get another offer started, but the home may not even be on the market. Most realtors will not advise you to try a second offer if this happens.
Most of the time, you can expect a home’s seller to reach out to you one way or another. It’s considered to be a common courtesy. While it would be wonderful to hear from a seller every time you make an offer, the truth is a little less than ideal.
Nationwide, there are no laws that require sellers to respond to every offer that is made. If a seller doesn’t want to respond, they don’t have to. Unfortunately, this is something that can make your buying process difficult. It also happens to be a trend that’s on the rise, so you may need to prepare yourself for it to happen to you.
With almost any real estate transaction imaginable, you will need to brace yourself for the creation of an offer. Offers are one of the more nerve-wracking parts of the process, but that doesn’t mean you should panic. A good real estate agent will make the offer process easy to do and relatively painless.
While you can never guess which offer will be accepted and you can’t always rely on hearing an answer from your potential seller, the good news is that it won’t take too long to find the right home for your needs. It’s a numbers game, after all.