What Happens When You Receive an Offer on Your House?
Most states have 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 an opportunity to terminate the transaction (except for inspection period and appraisal results).
For this reason, it is critical that you clearly understand – and are in agreement with – the final terms of the contract. It is our job as your listing agent to explain the terms of the contract and all the implications associated with those terms. We will help you plan and negotiate adjustments as needed.
Once an offer is written, the buyer’s agent (also called the selling agent) will deliver this offer to your agent (the listing agent). Then you and your listing agent need to review the contract. Typically, your time limit for response is any-where 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
- Hazardous materials (asbestos, lead-based paint)
- Sewer line
- Septic / drain field
- 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.
- Or 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 reject 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.
We 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 our input, you will be in a position to determine the response to the buyer that will get your home sold on mutually agreeable terms.