There are at least 5 steps in successfully completing a real estate purchase. There are many fine points in these steps that each could merit an article. Perhaps I’ll follow up on that later.
But here are the basics.
1. Make The Offer. A buyer needs to sit down and write up the offer on the property. Basically the offer must include the legal description of the property you are purchasing, the terms of the purchase and the date that you will complete the purchase. There are many fine points included in this, (like the fact that the offerer must be of sound mind, etc), but those are the basics.
Your offer is only good for a fixed amount of time. Usually we only make it good for a few days, after which your offer expires. If the seller likes your offer and signs it during that time frame, you have a contract. The seller is not obligated to answer during that time frame, but your offer will expire when the time runs out.
It’s important to realized that just making an offer does not preclude a seller from marketing and even selling the property to another party as long as he is not yet in contract with you.
2. Counter The Fine Points. If the seller is interested in your offer but wants to change some of the terms you will receive a counter offer. A counter offer only changes the terms itemized on the counter. The other terms of the original offer remain the same. Like the offer, the counter offer only lasts for a specified period of time, (usually a day or two), and then expires. Sometimes a buyer and seller will counter back and forth several times before reaching agreement…or giving up.
During this time of countering back and forth, another buyer may appear. The seller can negotiate and even sell the property to this new buyer if you haven’t yet accepted the terms of his offer.
3. Look At It From The Other Parties Eyes. A good transaction is a win-win deal. If you try to see the situation from the other person’s point of view you may find ways to accommodate their needs that do not hurt you too much. When one side of a transaction wants everything their way, usually the transaction collapses. There must be a give and take.
Sometimes a seller is just not realistic in their asking price. There is no guarantee that making a realistic offer will bring them to reality. You can only try, and then when you understand where they are coming from…you may or may not want to go there yourself.
4. Follow Through. If you say you are going to do something by a certain time…do it. If you don’t, your transaction could die.
5. Act In Good Faith. Occasionally one party to a transaction will begin to feel as if they are being wronged in some way. It is important when this happens to open up communication to ensure that all parties are still working for a successful conclusion of a transaction. Do not let emotions cloud your judgement to the point that you begin to mistreat someone just because you are upset with them.