You found a home, fell in love, and submitted an offer. Phew! So, what happens next? First of all, the seller has a deadline to respond, usually within three to five days. When they do, there are typically three possible outcomes:
1. Your offer is accepted
Great news! You can now sign a legally binding contract called a purchase agreement to officially join you and the seller into (temporary) real estate matrimony. Be sure to notify your lender so they can start processing your loan. Then schedule your home inspections.
2. The seller makes a counteroffer
This is where things get complicated. If the seller isn’t satisfied, they can make a counteroffer. Maybe they want more money or a different closing date. Perhaps they won’t part with the 40-year-old leather couch you want as part of the deal.
You can either accept their terms or, through your real estate agent, make your own counteroffer. Every counteroffer and agreement should be in writing.
How long can the back and forth go on? Weeks? Months? Years? The honest answer is, it can take as long as both parties want. And even when you finally do agree, if, say, the home inspection turns up something you think merits a price reduction, you might have to reopen negotiations.
3. Your offer is rejected
The seller can also just reject your bid, or any of your counteroffers later on. Usually this happens because they simply got a better offer. Unfortunately, that means your road to owning this particular home has ended. It’s time to go back to the drawing board with your agent and move onto the next one.