What Happens After I Write An Offer To Purchase A Home?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com SAL.2002007747

What's next after you sign the offer?What Happens After I Write An Offer To Purchase A Home?

So we've found the right home for you.  We write an offer, write an earnest money check, and as your buyer's agent I've got everything I need from you to submit your offer.  What's next?

First, I'm contacting the listing agent to let them know an offer is coming.  Fact is I've probably already contacted the listing agent to find out if there are offer terms that are important to the seller (besides price).  Maybe they need more (or less) time to closing, or want a few days after closing to live in the home.  MAYBE there's even another offer (or more) in play.  More on THAT scenario later.

I'll scan the offer and send a copy to the listing agent and asked for confirmation of receipt.  I'll send you a copy too.  If I don't hear back from the listing agent confirming receipt, I'll phone/text to make sure they did indeed get the contract and verify the email gremlins or spam filters didn't hijack the offer.

After this, the listing agent will present the offer to the sellers.  This may be in person, or emailed and discussed over the phone (especially if the sellers are out of town).  They'll discuss the terms of the offer (price, dates, type financing, appliances asked for, etc.).

And this point they have options:

  • They can accept your offer outright with no changes and you're officially under contract.  This happens, but rarely for our market.
  • Most likely?  They'll counter one or more terms, in particular price.  They may want to move closing date, ask for a few days occupancy, tell you NO on the washer/dryer set that wasn't listed in the MLS, basically ANY term in the purchase contract is subject to change.  That counteroffer will come back to us to either accept, or counter, or decline to pursue further.
  • They can reject your offer.  Basically refuse to negotiate.  Perhaps they're emotional people and got upset at an offer they thought was too low?  It happens.  Not often, but it happens.  They can provide the rejection either by marking the contract rejected, or by letting the offer expire (one of the contract items we filled in was response time, after that the offer is no longer valid).

Now let's throw another wrinkle into the mix.  What if there were multiple offers, so you've got competition?  What will the seller do next?

It depends!  Most agents know announcing "We're in multiple offers, give us your highest and best offer by xxxx time" can sometimes scare off a buyer or two, they may take a different approach.

  • They may choose one offer they like best and work it, while letting the other offer(s) go to the wayside, and if you're in the "wayside" category, you may not find out there were multiple offers until being told yours wasn't accepted.
  • They may do the "highest and best", then take the best offer, and maybe even work it a bit further.
  • They may let a buyer know they have to beat another offer (e.g. without a nondisclosure agreement to protect your offer, the seller CAN instruct the listing agent to "shop" an offer to try and get one better).

If for some reason our offer isn't accepted, we can request the reason why.  However, the seller and listing agent are under no obligation to explain why.  Sometimes it's not the highest dollar amount, but something else that makes one offer more attractive than another.

More questions about buying or selling homes in the Warren County area?  Just ask!  You can contact us at 513-520-5305 or email Liz@LizSpear.com.

Serving Warren County Ohio home buyers and sellers,

Liz and Bill aka BLiz

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Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas


The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Elite
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

EHO Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418

MailTo:  Liz@LizSpear.com

Search Homes:  Https://WarrenCountyOhioRealEstate.com

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William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Good step by step accounting...and ther could be even more steps as we go along.

Apr 02, 2015 09:54 AM #1
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

BLiz, great article on what to expect in your market when a buyer writes up an offer! I love these types of posts. We assume the buyer knows, but so often they don't. 

Apr 02, 2015 10:09 AM #2
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

William, No doubt we could go much deeper.  For now, just wanted to keep it top line for the immediate process following offer submission.

Andrea, Thanks!  Especially complicated and confusing when it goes multiple offers.  Suddenly the time line we provided for response means nothing to the sellers.  They have the leverage.

Apr 02, 2015 10:51 AM #3
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

It's always a risk to ask for highest and best, but I have certainly found that has netting my sellers the most money when they go that route.

Apr 02, 2015 01:13 PM #4
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate www.ChandlerRealEstate.weebly.com - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

BLiz - Great job explaining the process of what happens after an offer is written by a buyer client.

Apr 02, 2015 02:48 PM #5
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Liz and Bill - you have definitely given your buyers a quick and concise rundown of what happens in the minutes, hours and possible days after an offer is written.  So many have misconceptions.  Our job entails a great deal of education.  We do this everyday.  Most people don't.

Good stuff.  

Apr 02, 2015 06:35 PM #6
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Tammy, It's interesting, we've seen some buyers that absolutely refuse to be part of a bidding war.  In general though it would seem the best tactic for getting the seller the most money.

Troy, Thanks!  We may turn this into a FAQ entry on our WP site.

Michael, Exactly as you say, we're doing this regularly so we know the varied paths.  Someone that buys a home once every 5-10 years isn't going to encounter all the different scenarios that we know can apply.

Apr 02, 2015 10:57 PM #7
Cynthia Larsen
Cotati, CA
Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA

I'm in two highest and best situations right now. One with a buyer, one with a seller. It's a sure sign that it is a seller's market.

Apr 03, 2015 01:42 AM #8
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com

Great way to lay it all out for a buyer so they know exactly what to expect once they sign on the dotted line. 

Apr 03, 2015 01:47 AM #9
Conrad Allen
Re/Max Professional Associates - Webster, MA
Webster, Ma, Realtor

Hi Bill.  My biggest hope is that the listing agent is competent and doesn't drop the ball.

Apr 03, 2015 01:34 PM #10
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Cynthia, The pendulum swings back!

Nicole, More than one way to go, and we'll guide the process as best we can for the situation.

Conrad, Usually not a problem I've encountered, but you have to be prepared for just about anything.

Apr 04, 2015 01:07 AM #11
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

Nice explanation. And yes, the steps are the same, but the timeframes for responses can be anyplace from hours to days.  Always a time of high tension for the buyers.

Apr 06, 2015 01:19 PM #12
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