Step 5: Accepting an Offer on Your Home
You put your home on the market and now you have an offer on it. That’s great! Or is it? Here in the Denver metro area, a cool down can mean that instead of seeing five to ten offers on your home, you may only get one or two. Although you’ll never sell your home without one, all offers are not created equal. What if it’s nothing like you expected? How do you respond to the offer then? It all depends on what you need and want…so it’s crucial that you know your goals and communicate them clearly to your Realtor®.
When an offer comes in, I will review all of its terms and conditions with you. Occasionally, we’ll encounter offer terms and conditions that differ from the ones we indicated in the MLS listing. If that’s the case, or if any of the offer terms and conditions are not acceptable to you, we’ll strategize together on a counteroffer.
In addition to price, there are 3 important factors to consider when evaluating an offer and negotiating a counteroffer:
- The earnest money deposit: How much must the buyer forfeit if he or she tries to back out of their offer without good reason? Earnest money deposits protect you as the seller by providing an incentive for the deal to close.
- The contingencies: Contingencies are conditions that must be met for the sale to go through. If the conditions are not met, the buyer gets the earnest money back. Generally, the fewer the contingencies, the more likely the deal is to close. Common contingencies include the home passing inspection and appraisal, the buyer’s ability to find financing, the buyer’s sale of his/her current home, and evidence of a clear title on your home.
- The closing date: “Closing” is when you and the buyer sign the final paperwork. This step makes the sale official. In the Aurora, Centennial, and Denver real estate markets, the time between offer acceptance to closing runs an average of 35 days with conventional (bank) financing. This period can sometimes be a little longer if the buyer is using federal financing such as an FHA (Federal Housing Administration) or VA (Veterans Administration) loan. This contingency usually comes as a request from the buyer – for example, if the MLS listing for your home specified a 30-day close and the buyer needs 60 days for financing to come through and to move.
Throughout this process of reviewing, countering, and/or accepting the offer, I will work closely with you to maintain timely responses and provide market-savvy answers to your questions as they come up.
Once you accept a buyer’s offer, the clock starts running. There are deadlines for various items required by the purchase agreement. In addition, there are target dates and times in the agreement for your protection as the seller.
- One of the first things I do once you have accepted an offer is to order the title opinion for delivery to the buyer. The title opinion confirms that you have the right to sell the property. It also shows any existing encumbrances and liens that could interfere with the mortgage company’s ability to approve the buyer’s loan.
- Once the buyer has the title opinion, he or she will move on to obtaining a home inspection and appraisal. As these are completed and we receive the related reports, we will review them closely with you and advise you about your options.