How the house and the asking price stack up, whether your home is in a strong buyers’ or sellers’ market, seller’s motivation and length of time on the market.
Purchase offers are known by different names in different parts of the country, including :
The documents themselves vary according to the provisions and requirements of state and local jurisdictions. These days they usually are quite long.
In some states, only attorneys are allowed to prepare real estate contracts. In others, real estate agents may prepare such contracts using state-approved, pre-printed real estate forms. If this is the case where you are, your agent will have the printed forms that are standard in your area.
Most buyers are working with a real estate agent who supplies forms for entering into a real estate purchase agreement with a seller. The terms of the contract involve many significant points in addition to the purchase price, including financing, contingencies, title work and closing date. Due to the detail and liabilities associated with this transaction, it is important to consider enlisting the services of your own attorney to review the contract. The so-called “standard” contract may contain clauses that are not in your best interest. Real estate attorneys will often review or consult on a purchase agreement for a nominal fee, which is well worth paying.
As with any business transaction, each party has certain responsibilities. In real estate, the script goes something like this:
To prevent worry on your part about your offer price, ask your real estate agent to prepare a CMA, or comparative market analysis. A CMA report will compile information from the comps you should already have seen — individual descriptions of similar properties that are or have recently been on the market.
The report will include the list and sales prices for properties that have recently sold as well as list prices for pending sales, meaning the seller has agreed to sell the house to a buyer, but the transaction hasn’t closed yet. (A property in this situation is sometimes described as “in escrow.”) The CMA can also include active listings and expired listings — houses that didn’t sell and were taken off the market.
Typically, the CMA report is designed to let you quickly compare elements such as square footage, age of the home, number of bedrooms and baths, size of major rooms and amenities such as fireplaces and swimming pools. It may also list property taxes and school districts, and it should also tell you how long each property has been or was on the market.
Using all this information, you and your agent can add or subtract dollars for the plusses and minuses of the other homes to come up with a probable market value for the home you’re interested in. (And be sure to check Zillow.com for the latest market values for your target house and others in its neighborhood.)
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