This is a list I give to my sellers to prepare them for when they receive an offer for their home in Olympia, WA.
1. The buyer’s agent contacts me with the offer. The buyer’s agent will deliver the offer to me; then I will contact you so we can review the terms and discuss the response to the buyer.
2. Offer may not be full price. Don’t be offended if the buyer’s offer is not full price and if they ask for you to pay their closing costs. Both sides need to be willing to negotiate.
3. Multiple negotiation stages. Negotiations don’t just happen at the beginning of the offer. There will be other times during the transaction where buyer and seller can negotiate the terms. You potentially can negotiate:
- after the buyer’s home inspection;
- after the appraisal;
- and even (although extremely uncommon) negotiate just before the closing date.
4. Buyer’s list of contingencies. Buyers will have a list of contingencies that they need to satisfy as part of their process in purchasing the home. If a buyer is not satisfied with a contingency, then they can back out of the transaction and get their earnest money returned to them. Most contingencies are satisfied within the first 10 days of mutual acceptance. Common contingencies for buyers are:
- Home inspection
- Obtaining financing
- Neighborhood review
- Title report review
- Obtaining homeowner’s insurance
- Buyer’s home for sale
5. Special note about home inspections. As a seller, you agree to allow the buyer to have a home inspection. This home inspection is at the buyer’s cost. The buyer’s agent will schedule the appointment with you and you should be gone from the home. A home inspection can take about 3 hours. After the home inspection, the buyer’s will respond with four choices:
- the buyers will not ask you for any repairs;
- the buyers will ask you to repair specific items;
- the buyers will ask for more time to have additional inspections;
- the buyers are dissatisfied with the inspection and are rescinding their offer.
6. Earnest money. The buyer will offer earnest money, but this money goes into a third-party trust account, which in many cases is the escrow company. It does not go to you unless the buyer terminates and breaches the contract.
7. The appraisal. The buyer’s lender will hire an appraiser to come out and view the house, measure the house and take photos. The appraiser will contact you to set up an appointment. Most appraisers have lockbox keys, so you do not need to be at the house.
8. Signing closing documents. Prior to the close date, you will need to be available to sign your closing papers with the escrow company. You will not be at the signing table with the buyers. In fact, you may never meet the buyers.
9. What to leave behind. Please give me or leave behind all house keys, mailbox keys, garage door openers, etc. Also leave behind any instruction manuals or warranty information for appliances, etc. and any household receipts and invoices for completed repair work.
10. What to take with you. Remove trash. You can leave behind extra paint but not other hazardous materials such as gasoline, paint thinner, pesticides, etc. Leave the home as clean as you can.
Keep in mind that all offers and transactions are unique; this list represents some common elements of an offer.