When evaluating an offer, keep in mind that price is just one of the things that can be negotiated. You also need to review any contingences and terms the buyer has included. Does the proposed closing date work with your timeline? Are the buyers asking you to cover all closing costs? What other things are they requesting that will add to your expenses? Your agent can help you work through each item and decide if certain terms should be negotiated.
After reviewing an offer, sellers have three options: accept the offer as is, reject it all together, or submit a counteroffer to the buyers with the changes you want. A counteroffer may demand a higher sales price or a different closing date, or specify which terms a seller will and will not comply to. A counteroffer could be bounced back and forth a number of times as both sides make adjustments to terms they desire. Each time one side submits revisions, the other side is free to accept, walk away, or counter again. Once the seller and the buyer have reached a mutual agreement, an offer is signed and becomes a binding sales contract.
When a sales contract is accepted, both parties are legally bound to meet all the terms within the agreement for the sale to close. For example, if the seller does not make the repairs listed as their responsibility in the contract, the buyer has the power to withdraw from the sale. Most sale contracts entitle the buyers to have a final walk-through prior to closing so they can ensure the property has been vacated and in the condition detailed in the agreement.
Officially sealing the deal does not happen until closing. While the buyer’s stack of paperwork required for closing is much larger than the seller’s, the seller is still responsible for having all their i’s dotted and t’s crossed. Your real estate agent will help you gather and prepare all the required documents prior to closing day to ensure everything happens smoothly and on time.