Elements of a Typical Real Estate Offer To Buy, Components Of An Offer

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Contingencies

These are the requirements that must be met in order for the transaction to close and may include items such as the sale of the buyer’s current home, the buyer’s ability to secure a mortgage, and the outcome of the home inspection.

Inclusions and exclusions

A list of removable items in the home, such as window treatments and appliances, that the deal includes. Be careful. Sometimes buyers will give you a head fake and demand that you include your restored ‘67 Corvette that’s in the garage in an attempt to get you to agree instead to install new flooring.

Earnest money

This is the “hey dude, this is a serious offer” money. It’s essentially a cash deposit that the buyer makes to solidify his or her commitment to the deal. The offer will detail how large the deposit is, when it will be made, how the money will be held until the deal closes, and what will happen in the event that the deal falls through. Earnest money is usually equal to 1% of the sale price, but amounts can vary widely.

Timing

When will all this take place? The offer should include deadlines for the remaining steps in the transaction, such as the date of closing and the buyer’s move-in date. There should also be a drop dead date for the offer as well (date the offer expires).

Getting an offer to buy is exciting … and scary

For me, selling my first home and getting my first real offer was both exciting and scary at the same time. Exciting because it meant the process was about to get started and scary because I had never been through the sales process before. If you’re selling your first home or your 15th, getting that first offer in a weak economy may mean that the negotiating is about to begin. I’ll cover the Do’s and Don’ts of Handling An Offer in tomorrow’s article.