Step 8: Accept and Sign
Although a buyer’s first offer is submitted with a formally signed contract, following offers back and forth are often communicated over the phone or email. Once agreement is reached, it is then time to re-sign the updated contract. The agreement will now include points of negotiation such as a revised purchase price, modified dates, and various specifics such as what items will be left or not. There should be no surprises here- since your agent is working with you throughout the negotiation process and only makes offers that you authorize, you will already be familiar with the terms. It is simply a matter of e-signing the revised contract as was done for the initial offer.
Once the buyer’s updated agreement has been provided to the seller’s agent, the seller will then sign the contract themselves and return it. The agreement is not in effect until the signed contract is received by both parties. If for some reason you as a buyer change your mind before the contract is returned with the seller’s signature, communicating that your offer is rescinded will cancel the agreement. Likewise, if a seller happened to receive a higher offer after they’ve given verbal agreement to a deal but before they’ve returned the signed contact, they would be free to take the new offer instead (this happened to someone I spoke with yesterday). Once the seller has signed and returned the contract to the buying party though, both sides are bound by the terms of the contract and expected to follow through with the transaction. Of course, attorney review and physical inspection may provide reason to cancel.
Once the signed contract is provided to both sides, the biggest hurdle in the buying process has been cleared. The home is by no means yours yet, though; you are ready to start scheduling inspections, beginning the attorney review process, and working with your lender to make sure they will be on board to finance the purchase.
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