Does an Accepted Offer mean the Home is Sold?

When a buyer finds the home of their dreams it’s natural for their emotions to run high. However it’s important to remember that simply submitting an accepted offer does not mean the house is yours.

The first step in any transaction is to reach an agreement on the purchase price. Once both parties agree on a price, they sign an offer form and submit it to their attorneys for review. At this point most buyers are typically under the impression that the house is practically theirs and that no one else can view or place offers on the home. That impression is incorrect. During the attorney review process it is important for both the buyers and the sellers to understand that nothing is finalized and that either party can back out without a penalty. Other potential buyers can still view the property and present offers to the seller.

What if a better offer is presented by another buyer? ‘’Better offers” don’t necessarily mean more money. Sometimes an offer can be viewed as better for the seller because there are no contingencies. Contingencies such as cash offers, not needing a mortgage, a quick close, and/or no inspection are factors a seller must considered when evaluating an offer. It may be more appealing to know they don’t have to worry about the mortgage being approved, or the inspection passing without having to credit the buyers. These are factors that make a lower monetary offer more enticing. If a “better” offer were to come along, although they are not legally obligated to, hopefully the seller is courteous enough to allow the original buyers to match or exceed the new offer.

The seller has the option to either accept the new offer or continue with the review of the original offer. Sellers make their decisions based on what they feel will be best for them. It is important for buyers to understand that the home belongs to the seller until both parties are at the closing table signing the documents and handing over the keys. Therefore, an accepted offer is NOT a guarantee the house is yours. Always remember that until the papers are signed and the keys are in your hand, anything can happen.

By: Michelle Wasserlauf
Sales Associate / Realtor

Michelle is a New Jersey real estate agent specializing in first time home buyers and finding families new homes. As a local Bergenfield resident, Michelle has a great understanding of Northern New Jersey, and in particular, Bergen County real estate. Michelle is known for her honesty and genuine approachability when it comes to helping clients find their perfect home. Please contact Michelle Wasserlauf to buy or sell your home at 646.702.8577

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