Now that your home search is complete and you’re ready to make an offer to purchase, it’s time to take a look at this phase of the transaction. Your Realtor will help you to prepare the right offer and help you to examine what terms should be included in your contract.
Preparing Your Offer
The home you are about to purchase is listed at a price which reflects certain market conditions, current demand for the home, and generally some room for negotiation. In some cases, sellers will price their homes to sell quickly. In these cases, the price the home is listed at is the lowest price they will accept. Outside of these cases, you will make a reasonable offer below the listed price of the home.
Your offer should always be made within both what you are willing to pay AND what you are able to pay. If your offer is accompanied by a letter of pre-approval from your lender, it will improve its chances of being accepted. Your offer should also include any contingencies or conditions which you need met prior to signing the contract.
Writing Contingencies or Conditions
Your real estate representative will play a very big role in this phase of the transaction and they should be well versed in writing contracts and dealing with contingencies. There a several contingencies which should be included in your offer to buy
This contingency states that the contract is only valid if the buyer is able to secure their home loan. If you have not been pre-approved, this is a must-have term. This contingency can affect whether or not the seller will accept your offer depending on their feelings about your creditworthiness.
Before you sign your name to any purchase contract, be sure that the sale is contingent on the satisfactory completion of inspections for property defects, pests, lead and any other inspections required by law.
Include terms that allow you to back out of the contract if there are any problems with the property’s title.
You may have special circumstances or terms which need to be part of your contract such as making the purchase contingent on the sale of your home, or if you agree that the house is painted before you will buy it, etc. These contingencies and others can all be easily placed in the contract. Your Realtor will help you draft a contract that protects your interests and accommodates your special circumstances.
Caution: When you present an offer to the sellers, they have the right to accept, negotiate or turn down your offer. The more terms and hoops they have to go through to meet the contract requirements, the more likely it is that the contract will not be accepted. The specific contingencies we discussed are pretty standard, so you should be safe, but only include terms that are necessary to protect you.
Negotiating The Right Deal
When you choose a Realtor to represent you, you need to trust that they will be there to represent your interests. When it comes to negotiating the contract, they will work directly with the Seller’s agent or the Seller, in the case of FSBOs. Once you’ve made your offer, you need to be accessible to your agent because the seller may be willing to negotiate.
If they are willing to negotiate, offers and counter-offers will go back and forth until an agreement is made or either party walks away. By being available to your agent, you can negotiate quickly. This is important because sellers have the right to accept offers from other potential buyers until there is a signed contract in place. If the market is moving quickly and the home you wish to buy is popular, you could lose the home to someone else if you are not available for negotiation.