Here’s what you need to know Finally! You have found the place you want to call home. Congratulations!
It’s been a long time coming. Saving for the down payment. Getting your financial affairs in order to earn your loan prequalification. Figuring out just what you need in a home and the perfect location. Saratoga Springs? Clifton Park? Stillwater? Ballston Spa? Gansevoort? Scotia? And then looking at house after house after house before finding the one.
Now the real challenge begins. It’s time to write the offer.
When we move to the offer stage of the home search, I sit down with my clients to go over everything the offer entails. I start by showing them the “comps” -- the sales history of similar properties in the area recently -- to help them determine a proper offer. The comps, formally called comparables, tell us the sale price of nearby homes, as well as the square footage, lot size and age of the property.
From there, we take a look at required disclosure forms and then fill out the all-important offer sheet. That form includes the following:
- Property address
- Proposed offer price and how the buyer will finance the transaction
- Requirement of a clear title
- Amount of the earnest money -- a good-faith deposit that eventually will become part of the down payment -- the buyer is including with the offer
- Requested closing date
- Agreement as to how the buyer and seller will pay for things such as title insurance, as well as the prorated amount for property taxes and outstanding utility bills
- Any credits requested by the buyer, such as the seller’s contribution to closing costs
- Any fixtures or appliances the buyer would like the seller to leave behind
- A request to walk through the property just before closing
- A deadline for the seller to respond to the offer
- And the all-important contingencies, which are conditions put on the offer that must be met before the property can exchange hands. The sale of a buyer’s current home, a review of documents, a clean home-inspection report and the buyer’s ability to obtain financing all are common contingencies included in an offer.
Next week: From counteroffer to closing.