After shopping around for a home, you’ve finally found the perfect one and made an offer. Congratulations! But the homebuying process isn’t over yet — far from it. After making an offer, there are several more steps to navigate through before you receive the keys to your new home. Here’s a timeline for closing a house, with everything to expect after you’ve made an offer.
You made an offer: What now?
After making an offer, you may feel like you’re stuck in a holding pattern waiting for the seller’s reaction. What will they say? The wait can be stressful, but be patient — the ball is now in the seller’s court. It’s time for them to review your offer, along with any others received, and decide how to respond.
“The seller can choose to either accept, counter or reject your offer terms,” says Jen Horner, a Realtor with RE/MAX Masters in Salt Lake City, Utah. Most offer letters include an expiration date in them, but you can generally expect a response within three days or so.
Amid the highly competitive housing market of the past few years, it was not unusual for sellers to have their pick of multiple offers. Bidding wars were common, and many buyers were leading with their “highest and best” offer upfront in order to stand out from the competition, says Horner. This made the need for negotiating far less common.
Now, however, the dynamics at this step of the process are beginning to change. “Sellers receiving multiple offers had the opportunity to pick the cleanest option,” says Horner. “Now that we’re moving back into a normalized market, though, more negotiations are back in play.”
A counter-offer from the seller is a common start to negotiations. In such cases, the seller responds to a prospective buyer’s bid with either a higher price request or a specific date for the buyer to take possession of the home. As the buyer, the ball is back in your court now: You can choose to either accept, reject or make another counter of your own.
“Counter-offers can go back and forth between the buyer and seller until they settle on agreed upon terms,” says Horner. “This back-and-forth might be succinct and tied up in a day or two. Or, in some situations, it can drag on for several days — or never be realized if one party decides to hold firm on their terms.” Having an experienced real estate agent working on your behalf can be crucial during these types of negotiations.