House hunting can be difficult and confusing, and in some cases, actually closing the deal on a house can be even more difficult and confusing. So how do you, as a buyer, go about making an offer on a house? Start with a written proposal; oral promises are not enforceable. In your written proposal, and eventually your final contract, you must specify:
- The price
- Terms and conditions of the purchase (ex. the seller said he would remodel the kitchen before you move in)
- Address and description of the property
- Estimated date for closing the sale
- Promise from the seller to provide the buyer with clear ownership of the property
- Type of deed
- Amount of earnest money/ deposit presented with your proposal (this may not be returned to you if you back out of the transaction after a certain point)
- Division of payment (ex. who pays for survey, inspections, etc.)
- Date of expire for the offer
- A clause that allows the buyer to make a walk through inspection just before signing
- Contingencies (buyer will only proceed with the purchase IF conditions x, y, z are met)
- Other requirements based on state laws, etc. (your Realtor can help you with this)
You can negotiate better and make yourself look more appealing to sellers if you are willing to pay all cash, are pre-approved for a mortgage, and don’t have a current property you are trying to sell before you buy.
Additionally, if you use a Realtor to buy or sell your home you will have access to standard forms that are up to date with the law that you can use to create your proposal and contract. Also, your Realtor will make sure that all of the bases are covered, all necessary questions are answered, and you have appropriate contingencies. If you choose not to use a Realtor, you are responsible for creating your own offer and making sure that your contract is in accordance with all state and local laws.
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