Once you have found the home of your dreams, your agent will start the process of due diligence. You know what the asking price is – but what you need to determine is what the home is worth on today’s market. Your agent will assess comparable active listings, previous sales, as well as cancelled and expired listings to help determine what price you will start the negotiations with. You may find yourself in a situation where there is more than one interested buyer (a home seller’s dream) and a bidding war might ensue. You certainly need to know what you can afford before you get yourself into the middle of one of these!!
Your initial offer may be accepted right off the bat, or the Seller may counter-offer, or outright reject your offer. On outright rejection means you were probably too low to meet the seller’s expectations. A counter-offer is an indication that the sellers is interested in your offer but wants to see if a middle-ground can be reached.
Your agent will strongly suggest that your offer be subject to certain conditions (financial approval, home inspection, insurance, etc). Conditions must be met by a date specified in the contract. If any one of these indicates that this is not a good home for you, you can back out at this point. Once conditions have been fulfilled and signed off on – the deal is firm and there is no changing your mind.
Your lawyer will review all of the paperwork and will hold your funds (in trust) and will eventually be given the keys to the house by the Seller or the Seller’s lawyer. Usually late in the day on closing day, you will get your keys and begin the process of home ownership of the new place.