WRITING AN OFFER
Writing an offer is done after a buyer decides they want to purchase a home. This is the first step in showing your direct interest in the property to the seller. One thing for the buyer and seller to keep in mind are the price and terms that are being advertised. The closer you are to the price and terms, the better chance your offer has of being accepted, but also keep in mind there is always a chance that another offer may be presented to the seller.
The key components to your offer are
If there will be Earnest deposit
Your Down payment amount.
Your Financing terms.
Who is paying Closing Costs and how much?
Will there be inspections and who will be paying for them?
Any other Contingencies.
When will you be Closing?
Possession days or date?
What is going to stay with the property?
Seller Responses To Your Offer
Once your offer is presented by your real estate professional, the seller will have 4 options.
Accept your offer as written
Reject your offer entirely
Ignore your offer. Yes, they may not even respond.
Make a counter offer to your price and terms
Busting Offer "Myths"
Two common myths that need busted are
Even if your offer is at asking price, that does not mean the seller has to accept your offer. Even a full price offer with the exact terms the seller is looking for does not have to be accepted. There are many things going through a seller's mind when they receive an offer.
Even if you submit your offer first, the seller does not have to respond to your offer first. The seller can choose to respond to an offer in whatever order they choose and may only make sense to the seller.
Negotiating an offer is not typically a fight between the buyer and seller however in more of a conversation of terms between a buyer and seller. There are 10 common items that are negotiated and the most talked about is price.
Considering the fair market value is the most common settlement point a seller should be warned that the farther they move above fair market the less likely the home could sell and the lower a buyer offers away from fair market value the less likely the seller will be enticed by their offer. It is very important for both the buyer and seller to understand the fair market value of a property to determine realistic expectations.
2. Closing costs
Buyers have to pay closing costs for their mortgage, which are lender, title, and closing fees. These fees are a flat dollar amount, or a percentage that a buyer may ask the seller to pay. This is a normal trade off as the buyer will typically pay more for the property as the seller will increase the price in proportion with the amount of closing costs requested.
3. Closing date
Depending on the type of transaction the total time to "close the deal" may take 20 to 45 days. A cash transaction typically can be done quickly in the 15 to 20 day range, while a loan purchase can take between 30 to 45 days to complete. The time to close can be very tricky to negotiate as the buyer and seller may not be on the same page in terms of time. Knowing the accurate time frame and communicating between both parties can help achieve a smooth closing date.
4. Financing contingencies
Cash is truly King in real estate, by offering a cash offer, supported by a proof of funds, can be the most enticing offer to a seller as long as the terms are still reasonable. A cash offer also removes any financing contingencies for the transaction which will ensure the seller that a major piece of the puzzle is complete, the money.
A fully confident and pre-approved buyer can also remove a financing contingency. This means that a buyer is very confident and ensured by the bank that they are able to get the loan (Note: this should only be done with a conventional loan and also a buyer should seek consultation of their local lender). A seller should ensure that there is earnest money in a transaction without a financing contingency to add an extra layer of assurance that the buyer's loan is truly good-to-go.
5. Home Warranty
A buyer can ask for a home warranty, or a seller can offer one. This protection plan covers the home’s appliances and mechanical systems, like the refrigerator or hot water heater, in the event these things break or need repair.
6. Possession Days
Typical possession times are on the day closing (0 days), 15 days after closing, and 30 days after closing. Normally a vacant property will have the option of immediate possession and an occupied home will be 15+ days after closing to allow for the owner/previous owner to finish packing and move-out. Depending on the scenario, a buyer can offer the seller a longer possession time, even up-to 90 days, to grant them more time to move.
7. Home Repairs
A buyer can have some decent leverage in negotiation when it comes to a non-functioning item in a property such as a dishwasher or furnace. It is very understandable and reasonable to negotiate the repair of non-functioning items. In the same tone a seller should ensure that all items in their home are in working order prior to placing it on the market. Sellers can also specify that their house is being sold “as is” and that they will not make any repairs.
In the event that the buyer is able and willing to contribute more money to the transaction if the appraised value is not high enough can be an incentive to the seller as it ensures that the purchase price, as agreed upon, should not be impacted by the appraisal.
A good way for the buyer to protect themselves is to add that the purchase is contingent upon the appraisal value being greater than or equal to the purchase price. If the appraisal is lower than the purchase price, a renegotiation of the price and terms would begin or possibly the buyer may request a release from the transaction.
The built-in appliances such as the dishwasher, microwave, range vent hood etc.. typically stay with a property however, what about the rest? Normally “what stays” is known to the buyer before looking, however asking the agent or seller prior will allow for better clarity.
Waiving an inspection often comes with "buyer’s remorse," and should be done with great caution and consideration. However waiving inspections can strengthen a buyer's offer as no further negotiation will take place in terms of inspections.