found it - your dream house! You want to buy it. Now what? You make an
offer by submitting a signed real estate purchase agreement with the
type of financing you desire.
This is it. This will be the last sales contract if
the seller accepts it. Once you and the seller sign the papers, you are
agreeing to the contract conditions. Before you sign, read it carefully
and make sure you understand it in every detail. Ask Questions. Verbal
agreements must be written into the contract.
Your local Real Estate offices will prepare a purchase
contract according to your instructions and will take the offer to the listing
Realtor. In some cases, the seller will accept it as written, or make a
"counter offer: " on unacceptable aspects, or reject it. The selling
Realtor will then bring back the offer to purchase to the homebuyer, who can
accept, counter the counter offer or reject it. The offer to purchase becomes a
contract when all parties have initialed every counter, signed the offer and
When you sign the offer to purchase you will have to submit a
deposit to show that you are earnest about your desire to buy- appropriately
called "earnest money"
CHECKING YOUR CONTRACT
Purchase agreements differ depending on the circumstances, but
there are several provisions you may want to include.
I. Deposit. The amount of "earnest money" should be
clearly stated, plus the amount of down payment you will be paying at closing
and your avenues of financing. A common purchase deposit is 1-3% of the purchase
price, deposited in a non interest bearing trust account and returned to you if
the sale is not completed through no fault of your own, or at closing. 2.
Financing Contingency. Specify the total loan amount, type of loan and the exact
3. Negotiate the closing date and possession of the house.
Normally occupancy is at closing but this can be negotiated.
4. Inspections. If you feel the property may have structural
or other defects, you may have inspections done. You will have to pay for these
inspections, but the peace of mind or detection of a problem may well be worth
the cost of inspections. Inspections can be ordered for all major systems and
5. Personal Property. Any items that are not permanent
fixtures and are to remain in the house- washers, dryers, or refrigerators, etc.
must be specified in writing. Misunderstandings based on verbal agreements can
delay closing as well as cause friction between purchaser and seller.
6. Pre-closing Walk-Through. You and the Realtor should
conduct a "pre-closing walk-through inspection" which you will make
prior to the closing.
PROCESSING THE SALE
After you have signed contracts, your realtor should stay with
you every step of the way and follow through with any details involved in
processing your sale or purchase. He/she should: