What is involved in making an offer on a home?

If its been a while since you've made an offer on a home, you may be surprised by how complex the real estate purchase agreements are. Gone are the days of the one-page contact. Today's purchase agreements are eight pages or longer. And since verbal offers to buy real estate are not binding, your offer on a home should always be in writing. The offer is usually drafted by your real estate agent or attorney. Use Neal Hribar's 17 important questions to help you select a real estate agent.
When making an offer to buy a home, most buyers usually only think about the purchase price. Yes, the price is important but it's just one of the many terms and conditions that make up a real estate purchase contract. Other items include the deposit, financing, closing and occupancy dates, what's included in the sale, contingencies to protect the parties (title review, financing, inspections, or the sale of another property), performance time periods, a list of who pays for what closing fees and who's responsible for complying with local ordinances (installing smoke detectors and strapping hot water heaters).
The document may include an arbitration clause, in case the parties come to a disagreement. It may also have a liquidated damages clause, in case the buyer defaults. There are also various disclosures and affidavits that go along with the purchase agreement.
You may wonder why so many decisions have to be made before the parties can even agree on a purchase price. Sellers need to know all the details of the buyer's offer before they can evaluate it. For example, even a full-price offer might not be acceptable if it's contingent on the buyers selling their home. Therefore, all the terms and conditions are included in the purchase agreement. Remember, once it's accepted, the purchase agreement is a legal document, binding on both parties.
Most purchase contracts to buy a home are hastily written and many are incomplete. That's because buyers and agents want to act quickly once they find the right home. After all, the real estate market doesn't stand still while you're deciding if you want to buy a property, or not! Acting quickly can make the difference between getting the home of your dreams or losing it to another buyer.
HINTS:  Ask your agent to give you a sample copy of the purchase contract ahead of time. That way you will have the opportunity to read it and ask for an explanation of anything you don't understand. Then, when you finally do make an offer to buy a home, you'll be familiar with the contract and will not feel rushed.
When making an offer to buy a home, allow yourself enough time to understand the contract before you sign it. No matter how busy you are, you should sit down with your real estate agent, carefully review all the details of the contract and decide on the specific terms you want to include.
When time and distance don't permit you to sit down in person with your agent to write the offer, it may have to be put together using a phone, fax or e-mail. This process will be a lot easier if you've reviewed a sample contract in advance.

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 Neal Hribar
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices | California Properties

760-822-8690    E-mail: 

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