Buyers: You Like a Home, You Make an Offer. Easy, Right?

If you are purchasing a new home or an apartment converted to a condominium, you have it easy. You pay what they ask. Sometimes demonstration units are discounted, or you can choose from upgrades, but, generally, if you like it you pay the price.

If you are purchasing a home from a private owner you have a much more complicated process.

Whether you are buying or selling a home, consider the sale of a home as a transaction beneficial to both parties and not as a horse barter. It is true that an asking price is exactly that an asking price, but very often buyers and sellers become emotional, feel slighted or even offended if neither party makes responsible and realistic offers. For all purposes, this is a business transaction that requires multiple parties and often outside services and financing. The "other" services require more time than most people think, but the key to moving the entire process along is an agreement, legally binding, between the buyers and sellers of homes.

The Offer Process
The buyer gives an offer to a buying agent who writes an offer letter. The buying agent meets with the selling agent usually with the sellers present. The buying agent presents the offer. The sellers decide to accept the offer, counter the offer or reject the offer. Sometimes there are contingencies with the offer, the counter offer or both. A contingency is an offer with a set of specifications or requirements attached. Some of these contingencies include:

I will purchase your house if and when I sell my current house.
I will purchase your house if you fix the back stairs to the house.
I will purchase your house if my mortgage loan is approved.

Sellers can also add contingencies in their counter offers. Also, either party has a time limit set to respond to the offer/counter offer and can withdraw it prior to that time if there is no response. Doesn't this make buying a car seem simple?