All relationships involve some uncertainty and vulnerability, and falling in love with a home you’d like to buy is no different. It takes courage to put yourself out there and make an offer. Why? Because you can never predict the results.
When it comes to homebuying, however, the outcome of submitting an offer usually goes one of three ways:
1. The seller can accept your offer
Great news! You can now sign a legally binding contract called a purchase agreement to officially join you and the seller into (temporary) real estate matrimony. Be sure to notify your lender so they can start processing your loan. Then schedule your home inspections.
2. The seller makes a counteroffer
This is where things get complicated. If the seller isn’t satisfied, they can make a counteroffer. Maybe they want more money or a different closing date. Perhaps they won’t part with the 40-year-old leather couch you want as part of the deal.
You can either accept their terms or, through your real estate agent, make your own counteroffer. Every counteroffer and agreement should be in writing.
How long can the back and forth go on? Weeks? Months? Years? The honest answer is, it can take as long as both parties want. And even when you finally do agree, if, say, the home inspection turns up something you think merits a price reduction, you might have to reopen negotiations.
3. The seller rejects your offer
The seller can also just reject your bid, or any of your counteroffers later on. Usually, this happens because they simply got a better offer. Unfortunately, that means your road to owning this particular home has ended. It’s time to go back to the drawing board with your agent and move onto the next one.
How else can you prepare for the homebuying journey? Check out these posts:
- Use this checklist to determine what you want vs. what you need while shopping for a home.
- Six steps to prepare for closing.