How to Evaluate a Purchase Offer When Selling Your Home

What To Look At On A Home Purchase OfferOnce a home goes up for sale, home sellers must wait for a purchase offer. The purchase offer is a contract between the buyer and the seller. Once it is accepted, the contract becomes a road map for both parties as they navigate the complexities of the home sale/purchase process. Home sellers who have just received a purchase offer must pay close attention to the language and details of the offer before they accept. This article will discuss the most important details of the purchase offer contract.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed mortgage professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Purchase Price

One of the first things that all home sellers look for when a purchase offer comes in is the purchase price. Frequently, this price is lower than the asking price. However, in a sellers market, the buyers contract purchase price could actually be higher than asking price. At this point, the seller can choose to do one of three things: accept the offer, counter the offer or ignore the offer. If the seller is not happy about the purchase price, this may kick off a price negotiation process.

When considering a purchase offer on a home, home sellers must maintain an open mind. Some sellers may be tempted to turn down an offer that is very low, but this is not always advisable. The condition of the home, comparable properties in the area and other factors all may have influenced the price offered. Working with a real estate agent can help the seller to determine the best move after receiving a purchase offer from a seller.


The contingencies are clauses built into the purchase offer contract that enable the home seller to back out of the contract without losing earnest money. At various points during the home buying process, the contingencies must be waived or the contract must be canceled. There are several contingencies the home seller must watch for, including:

  • Appraisal contingency. This contingency states that the buyer could possibly cancel the contract if the home fails to appraise at or above the agreed to purchase price.
  • Financing contingency. If the home buyer is borrowing money to pay for the home, the financing contingency may allow the buyer to cancel the contract if the loan is not approved.
  • Inspection contingency. If the home inspection turns up something wrong with the home, the inspection contingency usually allows the buyer to cancel the contract.

Some buyers will waive these contingencies at the beginning, which can make an offer more attractive for the seller. Though this can be very risky (its best to seek the guidance of a real estate professional before waiving contingencies).

Closing Date

The closing date is the date when the home is purchased and no longer belongs to the seller. The closing date is frequently about 30 to 60 days after the contract is accepted. The seller or buyer may negotiate a longer closing date if it is needed.

Appliances and Other Details

The purchase offer contract includes all details about the sale of the home, including whether or not the appliances will be included with the sale of the house. Sometimes, the buyer may even ask to purchase items of furniture in the house.

Work With Your Real Estate Professional

If you’re a home seller who has recently received a purchase offer on your home, work with your real estate agent. Your agent can answer any questions you might have about the purchase offer you’ve received. Your real estate agent can help you decide what your next steps will be. If you’re ready to negotiate with the potential buyer, your Rochester real estate agent can help with that as well.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed mortgage professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

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