Selling Your Home


Managing Offers and Contracts

The offer process is pretty straightforward. An interested buyer will tell his agent to make an offer for a certain amount. Specific provisions or contingencies – appropriate financing, passing inspection, or successfully closing on another house – may be written into the contract.

Home Under Contract
When you pick a buyer,
your home will go under contract

The buyer’s agent will talk to your agent – or to you – and summarize the offer. Then it will be presented in writing, with a period of time specified for you to respond. Here are your options:

  • You can accept
  • You can counteroffer
  • Your counteroffer can incorporate other negotiable items such as financing, repairs, closing costs, timeframe for exchange of physical possession
  • You can propose changes to certain provisions
  • You can reject

More than likely, you will propose a counteroffer. You rewrite the offer accordingly, and that goes back to the prospective buyer.

More waiting, nail biting, pacing, and coffee.

You may go back and forth for awhile. Discuss with your realtor how long this process should take, and whether it is realistic to hold out for a higher price or other provisions.

About Price – To Compromise or Not?

Contract Process Terms

Ever notice the variety of signs realtors use? What do they mean?

Under Contract - When an offer has been extended and accepted, and inspections and repairs have been completed, the house is considered “under contract.” If an agent or prospective buyer drives by your home and sees this sign, they’ll know that you have a sale in process. Should your contract fall through for any reason, your agent will remove the Under Contract sign, and you’re back to square one.

Sold - This means the sale has successfully closed. Agents like to post a “sold” sign for awhile, so neighbors can see their name or company associated with a successful deal.


Note: The MLS and other Internet listings will reflect the sales status of your home, e.g. whether it is actively for sale, under contract, or sold. Once sold, the actual contract price is not visible in the online listings. 

Here’s some wisdom from realtors on this subject.

  • Some say when a home is new to the market, it’s most likely to get its highest price
  • If the market is active and your home is priced appropriately, you may have an offer in a matter of 30 to 60 days, especially if you have a particularly appealing property
  • If your home sits on the market for months with no offers, and if the market slows, interest in your home will wane. Buyers tend to offer lower prices to homes that have been on the market for awhile
  • Turning down a strong offer from a qualified buyer is a risk, even if it isn’t exactly the price you want
  • Taking an offer that comes along the first week is also a risk. And if it’s an offer before your home has even hit the market with its first Open House, unless it’s exactly what you want, that may be a sign that you’ve under-priced
  • There are no easy answers. Trust your agent’s skill, and also your gut
  • Know your own propensity for risk, your objectives, and your constraints

Reaching Agreement

If you reach agreement, a contract will be drawn up. Your realtor will probably take the earnest (or “good faith”) deposit from the buyer and put it in an account until closing, You will be given a clean contract for all parties to sign which will contain provisions that include

  • All terms of the sale
  • Price
  • Personal property included
  • Cancellation terms and timeframe
  • Financing provisions
  • Down payment amount
  • Specification of earnest money
  • Inspections to be performed
  • Repairs to be done
  • Contingencies (inspection-related, financing related, coordination with purchase or sale of another home)
  • Commissions (if they’ve been renegotiated)
  • Disclosure, if the buying agent is part of the same firm as your selling agent
  • Dispute handling, if disputes occur
  • Your responsibilities as seller to pass title, to maintain the home in its current condition until the sale closes
  • Date for taking physical possession
  • Provisions regarding closing cost or other fees paid by one party or the other



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