After a few days, weeks or even months of having your home on the market, you're likely to be glad to have an offer.
With a prospective buyer or several buyers vying for your property, the home selling process may get more intense. At this point, you're in the negotiation stages, and you have three options: You can accept, reject or counter any offer that you are given.
While making the decision may seem easy, receiving an offer is not as simple as a buyer handing you a piece of paper with a figure written on it. Often, there are terms and conditions such as contingencies for a home inspection or home warranties and provisions stating who is responsible for paying for any damage to the home after the contract is signed. These terms can specify what additional steps need to be taken before your property is sold as well as who is responsible for paying for services performed.
A real estate agent can help you work through the language of an offer and spot terms and conditions that could increase your out-of-pocket costs. Furthermore, an agent can advise whether you should accept an offer based on the terms and to what degree you can counter.
The good news is that your counteroffer can include your own set of terms and conditions, including a provision stating that the buyer pays for the property inspection.
Deciding to accept an offer
There are many factors that go into your decision to accept, reject or counter an offer. In addition to low-ball offers, many are rejected because the buyer has too many contingencies. Often, sales fall through because buyers include a contingency stating that the sale is dependent on their ability to sell and/or close on their current home. If you were to accept that offer, you could be left in a tough position if your buyers are having trouble with the market.
This is another time where working with a real estate agent is beneficial. Your agent can do some research and determine the likelihood of the buyers' home selling within the window of time specified in the terms and conditions of the offer.
Another common contingency states that the purchase is dependent on the buyers' ability to obtain financing, another instance that could be an issue for you if their financing falls through.