What Happens After You Get an Offer

Great news–you’ve received an offer to buy your home! So, what do you do now?

Read the Fine Print

An offer on your home is a huge achievement, and one to celebrate! But, before you consider it a done deal, make sure to read the offer carefully.

The offer will contain lots of details, and you’ll want to know what they are to avoid any surprises–like having to part with your appliances, light fixtures, or furniture.

If anything in the offer to purchase is unclear, have your agent and/or attorney explain it to you.

Look at the Timeline

In addition to price, the offer will include a timeline for the purchase of your home. In most cases, the buyer will ask you to respond to the offer within a set amount of time (typically 24 hours to a few days). If you do not respond to the offer–or reject the offer–within this time period, the offer is no longer valid.

The timeline in your offer to purchase may also account for the buyer’s home inspection, mortgage application, and recommended closing date. The closing date is generally a few weeks from the date the offer is accepted. Make sure the closing date makes sense for you before you accept the offer.

Review Contingencies

Contingencies are terms in your contract that allow you or your buyer to exit your agreement if certain things happen. For example, an inspection contingency allows a buyer to retract an offer if the results of a home inspection don’t meet your standards. A mortgage contingency allows the buyer to cancel an offer if they don’t receive a mortgage loan in time.

Chances are, your offer will contain a few contingencies. Review them carefully and make sure all terms are acceptable to you before you agree.

Make a Decision

If you want to accept the offer, then do it! If you’d prefer to negotiate the price or terms of the offer, your agent will help you with that. Or, you can reject an offer altogether.

Keep in mind, once a buyer submits an offer they are bound to the terms they proposed unless you reject the offer or a contingency fails. This is good news for you–a buyer can’t suddenly change their mind and leave you without an offer.

But, once you accept an offer you are bound to it, as well. Even if you receive a more attractive offer later, you’ve committed to the original one and can’t exit unless a contingency fails.

In short, before you accept an offer on your home, make sure you fully understand it and are happy with it.