So, you have accepted an offer. What happens next?
The buyers will schedule to get the home inspected by a private home inspector. Different offers have different timelines but usually, a home inspection is conducted within 7 business days after you’ve accepted the offer. Typically, within 48 to 72 hours of the inspection, the buyer will send you a response depending upon the home inspection report.
The next step is dependent upon the buyer’s responsibility. If according to the inspection report, the house is in a good condition and doesn’t need any repairs, then the seller isn’t entitled to do anything for the time being. But if the inspection report says that the house is in need of repairs, then we will sit with you and the buyer to negotiate. There could be different situations:
- The buyer might ask you to do the repairs
- You might want to decrease the selling price
- The buyer might want to withdraw
- You might want to withdraw
- Both the parties negotiate and agrees upon a sales price that suits them
The next step is known as Home Appraisal, which is conducted by the buyer’s lender. It usually takes 7-14 days. Again, if there isn’t any issue in the appraisal report, you can move ahead or you can revisit the options discussed above.
Once the offer has been accepted it’s time for Packing. The real estate purchase contract has a specific date for handing over the keys to the buyers. Depending upon that transfer date, you need to plan your packing. It might take some time and that’s why; it’s recommended to plan it properly. If you will only give yourself few hours, you might panic. Make sure that you are leaving all the fixtures and attached items such as blinds, drapes, light fixtures, fixed mirrors & shelves, fireplace, screens, cabinets, etc. A lot of people leave their kitchen as it is with the stove and other amenities. It must be mentioned in your contract.
As far as utilities are concerned, it’s the buyer’s job to get them transferred into his/her name.
If it’s a requirement in your city, you will have to contact your city water department and ask them to do a final water meter reading 5 days before you close.
Clear to Close
The last step is the waiting period to receive a “Clear to Close” letter. This letter is being provided to the buyers by their lenders (usually banks) and it might take some time. Generally, banks don’t give the clear to close letter till one or two days before the closing. There’s nothing to worry about because the banks like to wait till the last minute.
The buyer and the seller need to be available on the closing day with a copy of their driver’s license. The seller might have to bring some money to the closing, please ensure to bring a cashier’s check. The cashier’s check needs to be made in the name of the title company.
Major Concern of Sellers
Once you have accepted the offer, your home is marked with “OPTION Pending”. During this time, you can show your property to other prospective buyers but you can’t accept any offer until your previous offer was withdrawn by the buyer. Mostly, sellers prefer not to show the property and mark it as pending. You need to discuss that with your agent.
You shouldn’t be there during the home inspection. It’s a long process and the home inspector needs to be left alone to inspect the house. They need their privacy and they are professionals who know their jobs.
Accepting the offer doesn’t mean that you take away the lockbox or keys of your main door. Once the offer is accepted, the home inspector and appraiser will be visiting your property for inspection. The buyer usually pays a final visit of the property 24 hours prior to the closing date.
Packing should start right after the home appraisal results have been accepted by both parties and there’s nothing left to negotiate.
The contract closing date is tentative. Usually, conventional loans may take more than 45 days, so the closing date should be decided based upon that. Lenders tend to have a lengthy underwriting process and they have to look at lots of different things. It happens rarely that the close happens before the closing date otherwise, it’s usually around the closing date mentioned on the purchase contract.
Closing dates are usually determined when you negotiate the contract. Sometimes these dates may be moved up or extended.