You’ve found your new home. You’ve signed the offer. Now what? It’s the seller’s turn. And you wait to learn if you’re a new homeowner. (Why don’t you pass the anxious hours window shopping along Broadway in Saratoga Springs or ice skating at the Clifton Park Arena?)
The sellers and their agent will review the offer you’ve made, and the homeowners have a few options. They can accept your offer as written, reject it if perhaps they have received an offer they prefer, or make a counteroffer.
If they accept the offer and sign the papers, you have entered into a legally binding contract with the seller. If they reject it, the home search resumes. Frequently, sellers return with a counteroffer.
That’s when sellers seek to modify portions of the offer. The homeowners might ask for a higher sales price if your offer has come in under their asking price, or they can indicate they want to change some of the terms you’ve requested. Perhaps they are eager to move and want a faster closing date, or they won’t agree to pay some of the closing costs as you have asked.
Once you review the counteroffer, you have the choice to reconsider this property or to issue your own counteroffer. Each time either the sellers or the prospective buyers propose a change to the terms of sale, the other party can make a counteroffer. It might take a few back-and-forth exchanges to get both parties to agree, but once everyone accepts the terms, a contract can be signed and sent to both attorneys for final review and approval.
You’re in escrow!
A lot happens those first few days after the contract is signed. You’ll review disclosure papers and other pertinent documents and take part in a home inspection. The inspector you’ve hired will review the house from basement to attic, making sure the major systems function, checking the condition of the roof, operating the appliances and looking for leaks, just for starters. If the home inspection doesn’t bring up any major defects, the sale can progress.
By this point, you’ve probably gotten in touch with the mortgage banker or broker who prequalified you for a loan. You will lock in an interest rate, and the mortgage officer will set up a property appraisal to make sure the home’s value is in step with the purchase price.
Once the loan has funded, you and your real estate attorney will sit at the table with the sellers and/or their representatives to sign the final documents, and most importantly, hand over the house keys.
Welcome home. It was worth the wait.