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10-Steps Once Your Offer is Accepted & Under Contract

Posted by Andrew Fortune 29,339 Views

10 Thing To Do Once Your Offer Has Been Accepted

What happens once your offer is accepted on a home? Getting through buying or selling a home without making a mistake or losing your mind is tricky. Completing your loan pre-approval, finding the right place, and structuring a competitive offer requires much time and energy.

Once you have a signed sales contract, it feels as though your work stops there. Unfortunately, this is not the case. An accepted offer is only the beginning of the home-buying process. There's more work to do to get your transaction closed.

Our clients' most common question after signing a sales contract is, "What happens next?". This checklist helps people stay on track once they’re under contract on a home. It ensures they are adequately prepared to close the transaction without unnecessary drama.

Here’s a quick list of the topics and content covered in the post:

Table of Contents

(click any section)


If one of these steps gets overlooked, it may delay a closing; or sabotage an entire home purchase. Real estate agents work hard to help clients stay on track for each item mentioned below. Use this checklist to keep informed and ensure they remain on track to avoid delays.


Must do A.S.A.P When You Have An Accepted Offer

Point 1EARNEST MONEY

Earnest money is the buyer’s proof that they "earnestly" want to purchase the home. This step is involved at the beginning of the transaction. It's designed to protect sellers' interests as they take their home off the market.

The earnest money deposit in Colorado is typically around one percent of the purchase price. There are no standard set amounts for earnest money deposits. This fact will vary between different markets. The money will be held in escrow.

Some Realtors will collect earnest money before they submit an offer. Others will coordinate the earnest money drop-off after they receive a signed sales contract. Whatever your scenario, ensure the earnest money is delivered on time and in the proper payment form. This information is typically agreed upon and documented in your sales contract.


Point 2 PROPERTY INSPECTIONS

Once you have an executed sales contract, the clock starts on the inspection period. It’s time to hire a home inspector to review your new home. Make sure you complete the inspections on time.

Be aware that multiple types of inspectors may be required, depending on the home you’re buying. A standard home inspection is the most common real estate inspection type. Other types of inspections include radon, pest, septic, sewer, structural, HVAC, meth, and mold inspections.

Discuss all of your inspection options with your real estate agent. Ensure you have resolved any inspection issues within the time agreed upon in your sales contract.


Point 3 LENDER DOCUMENTS

When a homebuyer has an executed sales contract on a home, they need to communicate with their mortgage lender. This step will ensure that the lender has all of the docs to get started on the loan. As soon as a lender receives a sales contract, they start the mortgage process for the transaction.

Once the mortgage process initiates, the lender will ask for a myriad of paperwork from the homebuyer. Be prepared to provide plenty of documentation throughout the transaction.

Ensure you get the requested documentation to them ASAP to limit any problems with their timeline. Gathering and organizing all of these documents can quickly become overwhelming. Provide timely documents to your lender to ensure your closing is smooth.

Some lenders could be more thorough concerning keeping everyone updated on the loan process. Ensure you check in with the lender to verify they are on track.

If a lender does not complete the loan process on time, it may cause a contract breach. Meeting the sales contract's closing date is an important step. A violation of the agreement will allow the seller to terminate the transaction and keep the buyer's earnest money.

If the home buyer stalls on any requested lender docs, they could be to blame for any delays. Ensure you avoid this situation by promptly providing documentation to your mortgage lender as soon as they request it.


What's Next When You Have An Accepted Offer

Point 4 TITLE COMMITMENT

This step is handled by the Title Company or law office facilitating the transaction. They will issue a Title Commitment that reviews the property's title history (chain of title). They will also disclose any liens against the property that need to be resolved before closing.

Since the title commitment doesn't typically interfere with the loan, it's one of the most overlooked steps in the process. Title commitments are only meaningful once they reveal a problem. The most common mistake people make with title commitments is ignoring them.

Be sure to review your title commitment and ask an attorney for advice if you find anything that concerns you. Most title commitments are straightforward and require no additional work on your part. Review the commitment thoroughly before moving on to the next step.


Point 5 APPRAISAL

Once you have cleared the Inspection process, let the mortgage lender know you're past that step. The lender will order a home appraisal to verify the home’s value is worth the sales contract's loan amount.

Appraisals often challenge the sales price. This is an essential part of the real estate process. They protect banks from issuing loans above a property's actual value.

Poor appraisal processes were one of the causes of the real estate market crash in 2007. Banks were offering bigger loans than the homes were worth. Regulation has since been passed to limit the relationship between mortgage companies and appraisers.

In Colorado, appraisers have ten business days to complete the appraisal, starting from the order date. For this reason, it is crucial to make sure that your lender orders your assessment as soon as possible.

The homebuyer will likely be paying for the appraisal. It's best to order the appraisal report after the buyer and seller have reached a satisfactory agreement regarding inspection objections.


Point 6 HOME INSURANCE & WARRANTIES

The mortgage lender will require the buyer to have a Home Owner's Insurance Policy on the property before closing. The buyer will shop around and choose a homeowner's insurance provider and policy that works best for their home.

Homeowner's insurance providers vary dramatically in pricing and coverage. We recommend getting quotes from at least three insurance providers. Compare the large national companies with smaller local agencies to get the best results.

Home warranties are also accessible within real estate transactions. Some sellers will provide an allowance for the homebuyer to purchase a home warranty. When buying a home warranty, shop around and find the warranty company that best suits your needs. Once you've found the right home warranty provider, let the title company know who you plan to use.


Final Steps When You Have An Accepted Offer

Point 7TURN ON UTILITIES

With so many details happening at once, it's easy to forget the home’s utilities. Some states require the seller to disclose the local utility providers in the Sellers Disclosure. Contact the utility providers immediately to schedule or transfer them into your name.

If you're shopping for a home in a rural area, verify local internet speeds before placing an offer on a home. Many neighborhoods on the edge of town do not offer high-speed internet.

During busy months (typically in Summer), you should schedule your utilities at least a week before your closing date. It's wise to set up your utilities as soon as possible before you're ready to move in/out.


Point 8SCHEDULE YOUR CLOSING

Your sales contract will have an agreed-upon closing date. Ensure that someone has contacted the title company in advance to make sure they have a convenient time slot open. Title companies often book up during the busy Summer months. Be sure to schedule your closing at least a week or two ahead of time.

Many buyers and sellers will attend the closing together, although COVID has changed this for many people. Your Realtor will coordinate this with the other real estate agent involved.

This step is easy but often overlooked until the last minute. Ensure that the title company can accommodate your request on the day and time you need them.


Point 9 FINAL WALKTHROUGH

It is wise for the homebuyer to do a Final Walkthrough before the closing. The purpose of a Final Walkthrough is to verify that repairs are complete. It’s also wise to check that all of the seller's personal belongings are removed. Make sure that the home is fully ready to move in.

The final walkthrough is not a time to renegotiate repair items on the sales contract. It's merely a safeguard to ensure that no significant issues arise that could cause the transaction to terminate. Legal proceedings likely follow this to mitigate the problems. Minor annoyances like finding burned-out light bulbs shouldn't be a reason for you to delay your closing.


Point 10 CLOSE THE TRANSACTION

On the day of closing, you'll need to have your approved photo ID and certified funds. If you’re required to bring money, it will be on your closing statement. You will meet at the title company to sign all required documentation.

A typical closing usually takes less than an hour. As the buyer, if you're getting a loan, you will be signing the lion's share of the paperwork. Once the documentation is approved and your lender has funded the transaction, the transaction is complete.


SUMMARY:

Buyers Love ClosingsEach of the ten steps listed above has the potential to sabotage your home purchase. Make sure that you stay on top of your transaction to identify any potential issues before they arise.

If you have an experienced mortgage lender and Realtor, they will catch these issues immediately. They will keep you in the loop through each step of the transaction and protect your interests. A good Realtor is your best resource to ensure that every step above gets met on time with no added drama.

Unfortunately, your Realtor or mortgage lender may disappear once you have a signed contract. If you're not confident in your Realtor's competency, take charge and communicate directly with the lender and title company. This will ensure that everything is moving along as planned.

Buying a home takes time and energy, but it's gratifying. Your hard work will have paid off after you sign the papers at closing and get your keys. You will feel a wave of excitement as you move on to enjoy your new home.


10 Things to Do Once Your Offer is Accepted When Buying or Selling A Home Infographic


Andrew Fortune

Hi! I'm Andrew Fortune, the founder of Great Colorado Homes and the creator of this website. I'm also a Realtor in Colorado Springs. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. I am always open to suggestions and ideas from our readers. You can find all my contact info here. Let me know if you need a Realtor in Colorado Springs.


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