When you get an offer...

Posted by on Tuesday, August 8th, 2017 at 11:16am.

Last time I wrote I cautioned you about responding to "Would you take..." statements from buyers. I want to go back over that, because it's important that you not answer those questions.

Why? Because the price is only part of the package. You need to know the terms as well, and it all needs to be in writing. There's an old saying in real estate that cautions: "If it isn't in writing, it didn't happen." A verbal offer isn't worth the breath it takes to say it.

So - insist that the offer, with all of the terms, be presented to you in writing. Most buyers don't carry purchase and sale offers, which is why I advised you to get your own. If you have a serious buyer, hand him or her copies of your disclosures and a purchase and sale agreement. You want all of them back, properly signed. If you've noted problems on the property disclosure, ask them to initial those entries, along with signing to verify receipt.

When you get the offer, do not respond immediately. Thank your buyers and let them know that you'll respond within the time they've specified on the offer. If they haven't given you at least 24 hours, ask them to change it.

Now, sit down in a room without distractions and read the entire agreement. Make notes of the important points: The price and the closing date are first. Next you need to know how they intend to pay for the house. Do they have cash or will they get a loan? What kind of loan?

At this point you need to verify that they are qualified for the loan. Ask for a pre-approval letter - not a pre-qualification letter. A buyer can be pre-qualified and still never be approved. You also need to talk with the mortgage broker and/or a title agent to learn what your closing costs will be before you agree to sell at that price through that loan program.

But first, finish reading the offer. Are they asking you to make seller concessions? If so, what? Do they want you to pay part of their closing costs? Do they want to move in early? Are they asking you to pay for new carpeting? If the home inspector finds problems that need to be repaired, how many dollars do they want you to commit to those repairs?

Next look at the contingencies. In addition to financing and inspection results, the offer may be contingent upon selling a home they currently own or approval from someone who has not yet seen the house. Possibly the worst contingency of all is one hinged on receipt of a "Settlement." You need details, so don't respond without them.

These are all items that I research when presenting an offer to my listing clients. Please feel free to give me a call for advice on how to get the information you need. 

Call when you need me.

P.S. Negotiating without letting your emotions get in the way can be tough. Watch for my next message with a little advice on that subject...

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