You have a pre-qualified buyer who has made an offer! Your next step is to discuss the details.
- Receive an Offer – You may receive the offer on a Purchase and Sale Agreement form, if the buyer has an agent. If your purchaser is not using an agent, you may receive this offer from their attorney or you may receive a verbal offer. All real estate contracts must be in writing. If you receive a handwritten offer, you should supply the potential buyer with a formal Purchase and Sale Agreement.
- Review the Agreement – Your will review the agreement and determine which areas meet your expectations and which may fall short. For those that fall short, you must decide if you are willing to accept them, or if you need to make a counter offer.
- Negotiation – This is the process by which two parties (the buyer and the seller) decide on price and specific terms related to the sale of a property. The negotiation may involve your immediate acceptance of the offer or you may return a counter-offer that includes a different price or additional terms. If you counter, the buyer will then either accept your counter, make a counter offer of his or her own, or walk away.
- Keep your Perspective – There is a danger in becoming emotionally involved with “winning” the process. This is your home in question, and that can sometimes make this process more difficult. If you are not using a real estate agent, it is imperative that you use a trusted, but impartial individual to help you keep things in perspective. Remember, you are selling property and making the sale is your ultimate goal. You should only walk away from an offer if it will put you in a financial bind, or place your family under undue stress, or keep you in “limbo” awaiting the actions of another for an extended period of time.
- Accepting and Signing the Contract – Once you have negotiated a contract and both parties agree on the price and terms, the contract becomes binding when one party signs an offer (or counter offer) without making any alterations. You will want to be sure and have your attorney look over any agreement of this magnitude before you sign it.
Jeff’s Note: Don’t negotiate with someone verbally. Keep all things in writing to protect yourself and your potential buyer. If they submit an offer on a standard “office supply store” form letter/contract, you should use caution and be sure to have it reviewed by your attorney to make sure everything is in line with Georgia law and that the terms protect your interests.
Don’t lose control of the sale of your home. For instance, you may not want your contract to hinge on the sale of the buyer’s house. This is risky since it places you at the mercy of whoever is marketing their property and you do not know how long it will take. Before accepting any contingencies, discuss them with your lawyer for an unbiased view on the risks involved. Then, you can make an informed decision on what is acceptable and what is not.