Buying or Selling a Home

Basics of Selling a Home

Legally, what is an offer?

As a general rule, if someone calls you on the phone and offers to buy your home, that is not a legal offer. An offer is usually a written document that becomes the contract of sale if you accept it. Therefore, it is important that it covers all the essential details of the sale. An offer should include:

  • purchase price
  • the down payment amount
  • desired closing and possession dates
  • an indication of whether or not the buyer is applying for a mortgage and the terms of the mortgage
  • an accurate listing of items included in the sale such as appliances, curtains, and fixtures

A buyer may include an inspection clause that cancels the contract if the building fails to pass a professional inspection covering:

  • pests
  • radon gas
  • structural soundness
  • plumbing
  • electrical systems

The buyer pays for most inspections, although many states require the seller to pay for a termite inspection.

Have your attorney review the offer before you respond to it. An offer may signal the beginning of negotiations on price, possession date and other details of the sale.

The buyer's down payment is deposited in an escrow account until the deal is completed.

>>What legal papers should I have before putting my home on the market?
>>Do I need a real estate agent? An attorney?
>>Legally, what is an offer?
>>What’s usually in the contract of sale?
>>What happens at the closing?
>>Where can I get more information?


Practical Law Home | Buying or Selling a Home | Basics of Buying a Home
*Basics of Selling a Home* | Why Real Estate Is Covered By Special Laws | Real Estate Brokers
The Purchase Contract | Financing a Home Purchase | The Closing | The Fair Housing Act
Where to Get More Information

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