Buying A Home In Cleveland - The Complete Guide Part 4 of 7 - Writing An Offer
In an effort to help educate those buying a home in Cleveland, we have put together a 7 part series that will explain the entire home buying process in detail. Although our focus will be on the Cleveland market, many of the ideas discussed can be applied to other areas of the country as well. We recommend that you read the first 3 articles in the series prior to reading step 4.
Our first article, Step 1, was on "The Initial Consultation - Formulating A Game plan" .
Our second article, Step 2, was on "The Pre-approval Process".
Step 3 focused on "Selecting and Previewing Homes."
Here, in Step 4, we will focus on "Writing An Offer".
Once you find that one special home, it is time to get serious and put together an official offer in writing. This consists of completing a purchase agreement along with some additional State of Ohio disclosures. It is important to note, at least in Ohio, that verbal contracts are not binding. In addition, a seller will not deem a verbal offer to be very serious. Therefore, if you really want to buy a particular home, the offer must be put in writing.
A buyer's agent can assist you with putting together all of the necessary paperwork and explaining everything to you in detail. There is a lot of information to go over during this step of the home buying process, so plan to take 1-2 hours to go over and complete the paperwork. It is not something you want to rush through as the agreement, once accepted by both parties, will be legally binding.
If you are buying a home in Cleveland, our area Board of Realtors has a standard 6 page purchase agreement that we standardly use. We actually include a copy of this purchase agreement in the home buyer's booklet that we give out during the initial consultation and recommend that all buyers read through it prior to actually finding a home. This way, you will have enough time to become familiar with the document and ask questions. Viewing the purchase agreement up front makes the process of writing the offer much less stressful. If you would like a copy of the purchase agreement, please contact us and we will be happy to send it to you.
Here are the major items that need to be addressed in the purchase agreement:
1. closing dates
2. inspections, such as a general home inspection, pest, radon, and in some rural areas here in Cleveland, well and septic
3. terms and conditions, including purchase price and earnest money, if applicable
Just a few notes about the above mentioned items. While inspections are not mandatory here in Ohio, we highly recommend having at least a general home inspection performed on the home. Even if your "Uncle Joe", who is a contractor, has walked through the home and given the thumbs up, it is still wise to have a qualified home inspector perform a thorough inspection, even on a new home. Remember, buying a home is one of the biggest purchases of your life, so it is important to make sure you protect yourself by having an inspection performed. Additional inspections can also be done if recommended by your inspector.
Also, earnest money, also known as "good faith" money, is not required by law in the State of Ohio. However, if you are buying a home in Cleveland or surrounding suburbs, earnest money is common and expected by the seller. Many buyers offer 1-2% of the purchase price in earnest money. Again, a buyer's agent can go over this in more detail but we at least wanted to touch upon this subject, especially is you are relocating to Cleveland from another state, where the rules regarding earnest money may be different.
As a buyer, you will not be required to actually do any writing other than signing your name on the various documents. However, you will need to be prepared to help your agent fill in the blanks, especially when it comes down to the price you would like to offer, which is usually a difficult decision for a buyer to make. There are different tactics and strategies that can be used effectively to ensure that your offer gets accepted.
If you want to learn specifics on how to best structure a purchase agreement for acceptance, please click below to read part 5 of the series:
* Please note that the Schuman Team, Amy and Dan Schuman, are licensed real estate agents in the State of Ohio but are NOT licensed to practice law. Since we discussed the purchase agreement and referred to other State disclosures and Ohio law in this post, we want to be clear that information contained here should not be interpreted as legal advice. All buyers are welcome to seek the advice of a qualified real estate attorney prior to signing any legal documents.
About The Authors:
This information is provided compliments of Amy and Dan Schuman, The Schuman Team Keller Williams Realty. The Schumans have worked with numerous professional athletes, business owners, and those relocating to Cleveland from out of the area.
If you are considering buying a home in Cleveland or surrounding suburbs,please contact the Schuman Team at 216-346-3235.
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Buying A Home In Cleveland Part 4 of 7, Writing An Offer is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent. ©Aug 2009