Writing an Offer on a Home – The Basics

Making an offer can be an exciting but nerve racking time. You are excited that you found the perfect home for you but nervous about negotiating a contract, home inspections, etc. Here is a little info to help you get through writing an offer on a home….

First, your offer must be in writing; oral promises/contracts are not legally enforceable.

In your written proposal, and eventually your final contract, you must specify:

  • The price of the home
  • Terms and conditions of the purchase (ex. the seller will replace the heating/cooling system before the buyer moves 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
  • Amount of earnest money/deposit presented with the offer
  • Division of payment between buyer and seller (ex. who pays for survey, inspections, etc.)
  • Date that offer expires
  • A clause allowing 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)

A real estate agent can provide you with access to standard forms that are up to date with the law that you can use to create your proposal and contract. Also, if you work with a real estate agent, s/he will make sure that all necessary questions are answered, you have appropriate contingencies, and that your contract is in accordance with all local and state laws. If you do not use a real estate agent, you are still responsible for all of this.

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