What you should know before selling your home in Bluffton, SC
Negotiations With Buyers
So, somebody has seen your home and wants to buy it! Their real estate agent should have "qualified" his clients in advance so that you won't be wasting your time bargaining with people who can't or won't buy your property. An offer for real estate may initially be made verbally, but it has no standing as a Contract until the offer is actually made on paper, with the intended buyers' signatures, the price they are willing to pay, and the terms under which payment will be made. Typically, a payment of "earnest money" is offered by the Buyer; this will be placed in a bank account by the listing broker until the closing. Frequently an offer is accompanied by a letter documenting the buyers' ability to pay for it (this is called a "Prequalifying" letter) and possibly by a contract addendum that would permit a buyer to have your property professionally inspected at his own expense by a licensed contractor.
It is your right as a Seller to agree to the original terms of the contract offer, or for you to "counter" its provisions with terms of your own; perhaps the offer was for too little money, or you might need a longer time before closing because your children won't be out of school and able to move until summer vacation. All these conditions are negotiable, and neither Seller nor Buyer should be distressed if the initial offer isn't immediately accepted – with your agents' help on either side, you can work it out so that all parties will be satisfied!
Sellers of most resale residential real estate in South Carolina are required to offer a Residential Property Condition Disclosure Statement for the Buyers' approval and signature. This 4-page checklist is designed to make buyers aware of any problems that affect (or did affect) the property. The form is uncomplicated but the Seller is bound to be truthful about the answers chosen. The Buyers will sign the same document noting their acknowledgement of its contents. A Federal Lead Paint Disclosure may also be required (if the property was constructed prior to 1978).
Deficiencies in the property may be exposed by a professional inspection. If so, the Seller and the Buyer may negotiate for the resolution of the problems that come to light, or they may choose to part ways if they can't reach an agreement.
Other deal-breaker issues may be the Buyers' inability to acquire suitable financing for the purchase, or their inability to get insurance underwritten. Sometimes extenuating circumstances prevent a timely sale, and one of the parties has to back out of the agreement. In occasional short-sale situations, a contract between two agreeable parties will fail because the Sellers' lender will not allow a sale for less than the outstanding loan value.
In the majority of failed contract cases, any earnest money deposited with the original offer will be refunded to the Buyer without rancor.
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