The Buying Process
1. Make an offer and negotiate.
You make an offer, consisting of the amount you are willing to pay. Your agent will advise you of the amount you might consider offering, based upon comparable sales, but the decision on the offer amount and possible contingencies is yours! Contingencies are conditions the buyer wants to have in place before agreeing to the sale, such as inspections of and for: the house structure, pests, lead paint, radon, water quality, and the septic system.
Anything built-in remains with the property, but items not built-in, such as the washer, dryer, refrigerator, and window treatments, need to be specified in your offer if you would like them included in the purchase. It’s best not to assume something “comes with the house” when you buy a home on Cape Cod; and we will get it all outlined for you. Make that clear in your offer.
2. You make a written signed offer, consisting of:
A TIME LIMIT FOR A RESPONSE FROM THE SELLER
A period of 24 to 48 hours is a typical amount of time for the seller to respond, but remember that there are always exceptions.
A GOOD FAITH DEPOSIT FROM THE BUYER TO BIND THE OFFER.
On Cape Cod, typically it is a check for $1,000.00, held in escrow until the closing.
3. The Seller replies to your offer.
- Your offer is accepted.
- The seller declines your offer and doesn’t make a counter-offer. You can make another offer or choose to consider a different property.
- The seller counters your offer, with different terms or compromises.
- The sale moves ahead once the buyer and seller have agreed, verbally, to the selling price and the contingencies.
4. Get a Home Inspection.
Not to be confused with the appraisal, you’ll also hire a home inspector to determine whether there are any unpleasant surprises hiding in your new home. You typically have 10 days to complete the inspection. It takes 24 hours to get the inspection report, and then it could take a week or more to renegotiate if any unexpected problems turn up. There are always exceptions and varying circumstances, but this is the typical time frame.
5. Purchase and Sale Agreement.
This document is a more elaborate legal document of your offer, where a larger deposit is held in escrow before you can buy your new house. The goal is to protect both the buyer and seller, and to ensure that all expectations are clear.
We recommend that you hire a lawyer to review, make recommendations and revise, if needed, in your best interest.
6. Wait for the Appraisal.
Your lender will hire a professional to conduct an appraisal to determine your home’s value. The appraisal is usually scheduled within a week, and then it takes about three days for the report to come in. You don’t have to do a thing except wait for the result—and hope it’s higher than the price you negotiated. If not, you may have to increase your down payment or renegotiate with the seller.
7. Buyers apply for Homeowners’ Insurance.
Buyers should apply once the mortgage commitment has been fulfilled. Your home is likely one of the most valuable assets you have. Homeowners insurance helps protect that investment — and you — in a variety of ways.
If you have a mortgage, your lender is most likely going to require that you provide proof that your home is adequately insured. That’s because the lender wants to be sure its financial investment in your home is protected if it’s damaged or destroyed by a fire or other certain risks.
If you don’t have a homeowners insurance policy, your lender is allowed to buy insurance and charge you for the cost. Keep in mind, however, that the insurance policy the lender obtains may be more expensive than what you can purchase on your own and may offer more limited coverage.
8. Close on your new home.
About 2 to 4 weeks after the Purchase and Sale Agreement is signed, the closing takes place. Congratulations! You now own a new home!