Step #9: Making a Deal
The offer you make will be delivered promptly to the sellers, and their response will be required within a time span you designate - typically 1 to 3 days. Sellers can respond in one of three ways:
They can accept your offer exactly as you submitted it by signing it and returning the signed copy. The offer is now a binding contract and every element of it must be executed as written.
They can reject your offer in writing. This effectively ends the process started by the offer you made.
They can counter your offer in writing. In a counter, the seller makes changes to your original offer. Once they make changes, your original offer is dead, and the seller's counter is a new offer from seller to you.
As you can imagine, sellers often counter with a different price than you offered originally, but they may want to change the closing date, or adjust the way repairs are handled. If the sellers make any changes whatsoever to your original offer, the original offer is null and void. A NEW offer - The sellers' counter - is now on the table, and it is up to you to 1. accept, 2. reject, or 3. counter it. This back-and-forth of counter-offers can have several steps as you and the sellers adjust the terms in an effort to come to an offer you can both accept.
It's not unusual for some of the back-and-forth negotiations between buyer and seller to be suggested informally by phone, text, or email. This saves a lot of unnecessary paperwork and time. But eventually, the accepted counter-offer must be submitted and accepted in writing with legal signatures of both the buyer and the seller.
Whenever you enter the negotiating stage with a seller, you should remember that selling a home is often an emotional event for the homeowner. Those emotions can affect how both the buyer and the seller act. I'll do my best to help you get past the stress and emotions that crop up in the process of negotiating and reaching an agreement.
Bottom line: Time and time again, regardless of the emotions and personal feelings that enter into the final negotiations, most homes are bought and sold with the sellers getting a little less than they wanted, and the buyers paying a little more than they hoped for.
Your Key Step - Making a Deal:
Expect to negotiate, and look for a fair, reasonable way to reach a deal that works for both you and the sellers.