What to Look for in a Real Estate Offer

5 Important Details of a Purchase OfferWhen selling a home, the sellers may look at several purchase offers. This guide identifies five aspects that sellers should consider before making a decision.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a financial advisor before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

The Offer Price

The purchase price of the home may or may not be the most important aspect of the offer. Many sellers have a minimum price they will accept, which does not always align with the list price. The amount sellers may take could vary depending on the:

  • Length of time the home has been on the market
  • The price in relation to others in the neighborhood
  • Other details of the offer

No seller is obligated to accept an offer, especially those that come far under the list price. However, sellers whose homes have not received a lot of interest may want to consider each offer carefully before rejecting it.

The Strength of the Offer

Anyone can say that they will pay almost any amount for a home. The strength of the offer is what sets it apart from other options the seller may have. Buyers, through the details of their offer, should show that they are serious buyers. This might include a higher amount of earnest money, a minimal number of contingencies, or proof that they have been pre-approved for a mortgage of equal size. The strongest offers show a buyer who is ready to take on ownership of the home, and shows that through the terms of their offer.

Buyer Expectations

Although the time between an accepted offer and closing on a home is usually only a month or two, it constitutes a working relationship in which both parties should cooperate to get the deal to the finish line. Sellers can start it off by getting to know the buyers' motivations for the home and the flexibility they can give during the process. For example, buyers who ask for help with closing costs may also expect the seller to pay for needed repairs that come up during the home inspection. People who want to buy the home as a primary residence could have different expectations than a person purchasing an investment property.


Many purchase offers have some kind of contingency to protect the buyer in a transaction. Common contingencies include:

  • a home inspection
  • appraisal
  • financing
  • possible sale and settlement of the buyer's current home

Every contingency that the seller agrees to may allow the buyer to walk away without losing their earnest money. Sellers should be sure they understand the specifics of each one, and ask for clarification on anything that seems vague or unclear.

Offer Timelines

Most items in a real estate offer tend to run on a clock. The buyer usually gives the seller a certain amount of time to consider the offer and accept it, reject it, or make a counter-offer. If the seller accepts the terms, there should be a specified time to resolve each contingency, close on the sale, record it, and transfer ownership. Buyers may set the timeline to work with their needs to finish getting funding for the mortgage, close on the sale of their home if applicable, and prepare to take ownership of the new property. Sellers can also often negotiate on some of the deadlines if needed. For example, if the seller must complete the sale with enough time to buy another home, they may need to indicate this before accepting the offer.

Selling a Mount Vernon home will hopefully result in one or more offers. By carefully looking at these details of the offer, sellers will be able to determine if the offer is the best one to accept.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a financial advisor before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

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