You've finally found the house you want, so what's next?
Make an Offer
Once you find the home, you will need to make an offer. This will be done by your real estate agent. They will write the offer and present it to the seller. When you make your offer you will propose a purchase price, the time frame in which you’d like to take ownership, the amount of your down payment and any conditions that must be met prior to sale (such as required repairs or inspections). You will be required to make a partial down payment deposit called an earnest deposit to show your serious about your offer. There is no set amount so check with your agent.
Sometimes an offer is accepted immediately and sometimes you'll need to negotiate. Your real estate agent and the seller's agent will be the go-between during this time. Many times the days on the market will be an indicator if you are the only buyer at the moment or if you'll have competition. If the house was just listed and it's a hot property, there could be several other offers the buyer is considering as well. Just make sure you don't let your emotions get the best of you and you make a decision you'll regret. Hopefully you have a good agent who can help steer you through this time.
When your offer is accepted by the seller, you reach a sales agreement. This means that both you and the seller have defined the price and terms for the sale and a sales contract is drawn up. Once you and the seller sign it, the contract is a legally binding document. At this time, escrow opens. Escrow is best defined (in Nevada) as a process that provides for a fair and equitable transfer of property from one person to another. The contract, along with any additional instructions, serves as instructions for the escrow officer.
Escrow assures that the lender releases the home purchase funds at or about the same time that the deed is recorded to reflect new ownership. Escrow includes depositing, with a neutral third party, funds, documents and instructions necessary to complete the transfer.
Sounds easy doesn't it? Well you aren't done yet! Check back next week to learn more about the next steps in the process, starting with the home inspection.