After weeks (or months) of looking for just the right home with all the things on your wish list (a decent closet, plenty of guest bedrooms and a to-die-for kitchen), you’ve found the one. Great! But like most first-time home buyers, you’re probably wondering, what happens now?
The only thing standing between you and the finish line is the offer. If you’re not sure what that means for you, no need to fret. We’re here to break down what happens after you’ve decided on the perfect home.
Extending an Offer
When you’re ready to make an offer and purchase your home, expect some negotiations until you reach a final price the seller is willing to accept. It’s a good idea to work with a real estate professional to conduct the negotiations, be your advocate and serve as a trusted advisor. The written offer is normally guided by laws and is legally binding. Your real estate agent can provide you with a legally approved form to make the offer.
When you extend your offer:
- Make sure the seller knows you’re prequalified, which will make your offer more attractive.
- Make sure ALL negotiations are in writing and that you receive copies.
- You’ll need to make an earnest money deposit. Typically, the deposit is 1-2% of purchase price (varies by state). This deposit shows the seller your offer is serious and made in good faith. It’s given to the escrow company and will be applied to the final purchase price at closing.
It’s likely that you’ll find yourself competing with other offers if you’re in a market with lower inventory and higher demand.
Looking to stand out?
- Write a personal letter: Sharing a little about yourself or your family can help your offer stand out above the rest. This isn’t recommended in all cases, but if a seller has a sentimental attachment to a property, it could help.
- Closing date or occupancy date: If the seller needs to more time to move out, being flexible to their needs can give you a leg up on the competition.
- Find out what the seller wants: Sometimes finding the criteria that matters most to the seller is the best way to go. They may want a cash offer, a higher price or a fast close. Work with your realtor to determine the best route.
When the seller accepts your offer, here’s what’s next:
- Review the loan commitment, make sure you understand the loan’s rate terms, requirements and details.
- Have the home inspected by a certified home inspector.
- Obtain homeowner’s and any other required insurance.
- Verify with the closing agent or attorney that a property survey was ordered.
- Set a closing date and time.
- Start preparing to move.
- Confirm that you have met all the guidelines and conditions in the purchase agreement established by the seller (see below).
- Be prepared to pay final closing costs at your closing appointment.
Remember, your PrimeLending loan officer will answer your questions, stay involved and guide you through the process all the way to closing.
The Purchase Agreement
At this point, money has officially changed hands. You’re almost done. Now the purchase agreement must be finalized. This is a legal contract between you and the seller of the property. It outlines all terms and features of the final transaction, including:
- Property address and legal description.
- Sales price and the loan, down payment and deposit amounts.
- Names of all parties involved including the buyer, seller, buyer’s agent, seller’s agent, mortgage broker/banker and any attorneys.
- Time limits that might apply to the transaction.
Any contingencies that must be addressed prior to the deal being completed and finalized (such as the sale of the buyer’s present home, issues from the home inspection that might need to be repaired, etc.).
Every home transaction is different, so not all contracts are the same. Turn to your real estate professional, title company or an attorney to help you through the negotiations and execution of a purchase contract.
Closing day is exciting but can be a bit hectic if you don’t know what to expect. Don’t leave room for surprises and find out what to bring to closing day here.
If you’re ready to get started on your homebuying journey, a PrimeLending loan expert is the perfect partner to have on your side every step of the way.