Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers

FAQs – Part 2 (making an offer)

Posted in FAQs by Jeff Dowler on October 23, 2006

I want to make an offer. Who does that and how does it work?

When you have decided on a home you will want to make an OFFER to the seller to purchase the property. Your REALTOR will help you construct an offer that lays out all the terms and conditions on the standard paperwork required by the State of California (each state has different paperwork – the agreement in CA is 10 pages). Sometimes people ask if they can make a verbal offer – legally, an offer has to be in writing and, once agreed on, signed by both parties to be binding. A verbal offer essentially is meaningless and carries no weight. The offer will consist of a monetary amount (the purchase price) as well as a proposed date of closing, and a series of contingencies (i.e., the offer may be contingent upon a home inspection, getting a loan, and reviewing all the statutory and other disclosures). You will also need to decide how long you will give the sellers to consider your offer and provide you with a response (typically 24 – 48 hours).

Your REALTOR will review all the paperwork with you and once you are satisfied, you must sign it. Then your REALTOR will present the offer to the sellers through their listing agent. The offer may be faxed to the agent or the original version delivered personally, but some REALTORs prefer to present the offer verbally to the agent and the sellers if they are open to this.

The sellers can essentially do one of 3 things – Accept the offer, Reject it, and Counter it. How they respond will depend, in part, on how realistic your offer is and the terms and conditions you are proposing. If the offer is countered, you may counter back, and the process continues until such time that the parties reach agreement, or decide to not pursue the discussion any further. Once everyone agrees both parties must have signed the offer to have a contract, and each gets a copy.


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  1. […] I previously talked a bit about what an offer is and who makes it, but let me share some more details on what goes into an actual offer (the paperwork used and even the details will vary from state to state). The California form (called the Residential Purchase Agreement and Joint Escrow Instructions) is 10 pages!! So it’s a bit frightening to new buyers. Let me chat about items in the CA document, but recognize that if you are in another state some things will differ – so have a good conversation with your REALTOR! […]

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