8 STEPS TO SELLING YOUR HOME
Step Five - Receiving an Offer
Written offers from potential buyers will not be received by you personally, instead they will be sent to your agent, who will then forward them to you. If your agent believes your home will be highly sought after they may set up a date and time for all offers to be reviewed. This allows all buyers an equal opportunity to get their bids in and reviewed.
Your agent is required by law to show you every offer they receive, even if the offer is really low or if it comes in after you have accepted another offer. Only you can decide to accept or reject an offer, your agent does not have that power.
Once an offer, or offers, are received, your agent will sit with you and go over all the terms, which must include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Legal description of the property
- Offer price amount
- Down payment amount
- Financing arrangements
- Who will pay certain fees
- Deposit amount (not the same as a down payment)
- Inspection rights
- Method of transferring title
- Escrow agent who will handle closing
- Appliances that will stay in with the house
- Closing date
Once the offer has been reviewed you have three options:
- Counter the offer - If there are parts of the contract you agree with, but parts you don't, you can discuss with your agents which changes you would like made and she will write up the counteroffer and send it back to the potential buyer. The buyer can then accept your offer, reject your offer, or counter your offer with a new one. Countering can go back and forth as many times as needed until an agreement is reached or one party walks away.
- Reject the offer - If you feel the offer is unfair or so low that there is no point in countering, or if you have better offers to choose from, you can reject the offer. However, you CAN NOT reject an offer based on the potential buyer's race, religion, sexual orientation, marriage or family status, disability, or any other form of discrimination. If the offer is at full price, and the buyer has proven he is financially capable of purchasing the home there is no reason to reject the offer (unless a better offer has been presented). Rejecting an offer based on a discrimination can lead to substantial fines and legal charges.
- Accept the offer - If you feel the offer is fair and no changes are necessary you can accept it as is.
Once you sign an offer it becomes a legally binding contract, so it is very important that you understanding what you're signing. If you are uncertain or confused about any aspect of the contract be sure to ask your agent questions BEFORE signing.
Back-up offers - If, after you sign an offer, a better offer comes in you can save it as a back-up offer if the potential buyer who sent the better offer agrees. If the original offer fails to close for any reason the back-up offer will automatically come into play. However, it the back-up offer buyer finds another home while the first contract is still active, they can terminate.
Remember, all offers are not the same, and there are a myriad of different contingencies that can be added or removed. This post describes the most simple of contracts for Washington State. The rules for what must be in included may differ from state to state.