You’ve found the right house, you’re ready to buy a house, and now, you’re about to submit an offer. But who delivers your offer to the seller?
In New York, the common practice is that both buyers and sellers are represented by agents. You deliver your offer to your agent (the buyer’s agent), the buyer’s agent sends the offer to the seller’s agent, who then transmits your offer to the seller.
If you don’t have a buyer’s agent, you can submit your offer directly to the listing agent, but it’s important to remember that the listing agent will not be an advocate on your behalf.
There are some listings that are For Sale By Owner (FSBO). In this case, you can directly talk with the owner-seller and may be able to negotiate a discount since they will be saving on real estate commission which is normally 6% of the sale price.
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What’s in the offer to the seller
Whether you or your agent is the one who delivers your offer to the seller, it’s important to know the information that should be in the offer. Generally, the offer should include the price, the commissions and other fees, payment arrangements, and contingencies.
The price will say who is paying for the closing costs, taxes, and sales fees. It should state who is paying for the real estate agent commissions, how payment will be made, whether there is a bank involved, the time frame to complete the sale, and the title agency to be used. It would describe contingencies, such as financing, home inspection, and repairs.
The offer should also include supporting documents, such as your bank statement (to prove your capacity to purchase), a mortgage pre-approval letter, and a personal financial statement. You can also include a heartfelt letter to make your offer stand out from the rest.
If you are in New York, you should also include the contact information of your real estate attorney. It is common practice in New York for buyers and sellers to always be represented by lawyers. Including your attorney’s contact information in your offer will show the owner-seller that you are a serious buyer.
What happens after you deliver your offer to the seller
Once you’ve found who delivers your offer to the seller and they’ve submitted your offer, you can wait for the seller to get back to you, whether the offer is accepted, a counter-offer is made, or the offer is rejected. There’s a standard provision in the offer letter where the offer expires if there is no acceptance within such time period.
Generally, you can withdraw the offer prior to the seller’s acceptance. In New York, real estate offers are brief and not binding until a full purchase agreement is executed. However, when your agent asks you to sign an offer that includes contract-like language, have a lawyer review it to ensure that you are not binding yourself any more than necessary.
Your options for terminating the contract after you’ve delivered your offer and it has been accepted
Terminating a fully executed purchase agreement will require you to refer to the contract provisions. In this case, you have probably already made an earnest payment, which you are likely to lose if you don’t follow the contract terms regarding termination. When this happens, you need to discuss with your lawyer your options before sending any kind of termination notice to the owner-seller.
Finding who delivers your offer to the seller is part of buying a house, which is one of the biggest investments you can make in your entire lifetime. We have represented both buyers and sellers in real estate transactions, and we know the standard provisions to include to protect your rights. Should you need assistance, we at the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin are here for you. We have offices in New York, NY, Brooklyn, NY and Queens, NY. You can call us at 718-509-9774 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.