When does an Offer become a Contract?

An Offer is NOT a Contract, in a slow market it can be a feeler, in a competitive market it can mean the difference between getting the property you really want and losing it because your offer was too low. When your Realtor shows you a home that you really like and you begin mentally moving in, then that’s the time to make an offer to purchase the property. Your agent will advise you on market conditions, recent sales in the immediate area, and be able to tell you how long the property you’re interested in has been on the market and how many, if any, price reductions there have been.

The ultimate decision on how much to offer is up to the buyer, consider your budget and all the extra expenses of home ownership and make an offer you’re comfortable with. If you decide to low-ball the seller, be prepared for a high counter offer or a complete rejection. Remember a Realtor here in Florida must submit all offers to the seller, verbal as well as written offers must be submitted: the exception to this rule is, if the seller specifies in writing to the listing agent that they will not consider or accept any verbal offers then the sellers instructions will be respected and adhered to. If you’re serious about making an offer to purchase, put it in writing!

Your Realtor will prepare the purchase offer and all the necessary addendums for your signature. Once you’ve signed the offer the seller will have a specified amount of time to give you an answer. The seller doesn’t have to do a thing with the offer if they choose not to accept it. If the seller does accept the offer it’s still not a contract until it is delivered and accepted by the buyer! Then and only then does it become a Contract!

If the seller counters the offer, then you as a buyer can accept, reject or re-counter and now we have an entirely new offer to purchase real estate. If all parties come to a meeting of the minds and initial all the changes and the offer is delivered and accepted by the buyer and seller, then and only then does it become a Contract.

A Realtor should never take the buyers offer and say, “I’m going to have this Contract signed” because an Offer in NOT a Contract.

Side Note: The existence of a contract requires 1-an offer; 2- an acceptance of that offer, resulting in a meeting of the minds; 3- a promise to perform; 4- valuable consideration (promise or payment); 5- a time when performance must be made; 6- terms and conditions for performance; 7 performance.

I am not a lawyer and do not give legal advice: When purchasing Real Estate it’s always a good idea to consult with an Attorney.

Happy Property Hunting


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A Day Trip Tubing Down the Ichetucknee River


St Augustine, Florida is a wonderful place full of interesting things to do, lounge on our beautiful beaches, enjoy a day of boating, fishing or jet skiing. The old city is chock full of historical sites, music, art, shopping and nightlife.  But, if you’re in the mood to take a drive through the Florida countryside to enjoy a family fun day tubing down a natural spring river, then Ichetucknee Springs State Park is the perfect get away.

 That’s exactly what I did with a few friends and we had a great time. Ichetucknee Spring is one of the few places left where you can enjoy the specular beauty of Florida’s unspoiled natural landscape. We set up our GPS so we could travel the scenic roads to the park, the countryside was beautiful, we passed farms, cow pastures, wide open spaces and drove along winding country roads. We spied deer on the side of the road and a fox standing in a freshly plowed field.

We left early in the morning and the easy carefree drive took just about an hour and a half. Right before you reach the park you’ll see the first tube vendor, we opted for the second vendor, the Ichetucknee Tube Center since they were the only ones who answered the phone when we called ahead for tubing information. Linda the owner who’s been in business over 41 years was pleasant and accommodating. We rented three big tubes for $6.00 a piece and Linda’s grandson tied them on our car. The Park was a short ride down the street where we were charged $5.00 a person to enter, if you’re just going to enjoy the park for a day without tubing on the river the entrance cost would be $6.00 per car. You can’t bring food or drink on the river but there are concession stands before and after the river ride.

Once we entered the park we unloaded the tubes and the driver had to continue a short distance to the parking area, she came back a short time later on the free shuttle. Once the driver came back we walked a few hundred feet and put our tubes in the crisp clean cold water. There weren’t many people there on this particular Sunday morning since it was early, just before 9, some people had tubes like us, and others had rafts or kayaks. As we continued down our adventure the river became swifter, I liked that better because the tube stayed more in the middle of the river. It’s hard to control a tube and at first mine kept going over to the side and I was afraid of what would come out of the high grass! We saw lots of mullet jumping out of the water, turtles resting on fallen logs and birds in the trees. We were hoping to see a manatee or two but weren’t lucky enough on that that sunny day. The gigantic cypress trees were a magnificent sight to see with their protruding knees all along the river bank, and the Spanish moss hanging down was truly a delight.

After about an hour and a half is the mid-point where you could disembark, but we elected to continue on for the entire 3 plus hour ride. Once done we were thirsty, hungry and exhilarated, we left the tubes at the river’s edge for the tube vendor pick-up and headed to the concession stand. We ordered cheeseburgers all the way, large fries and a large drink for $11.00 apiece. I must say that was a darn good lunch, and one of the best cheeseburgers found anywhere, fresh, homemade and delicious, our adventure ended with a free shuttle ride back to the car.

The very best of Florida is here in and around St. Augustine. Enjoy yourself and live everyday like it was your last.


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Condominium Association Documents Can Be Found Online

Are you pondering the idea of buying a condo for an investment or your new residence? Most condo associations can be found on-line. If you can’t find it, ask your Realtor for the website. Once you find the website you can view the Condominium Declaration, Rules and Regulations, etc. This knowledge will empower you immensely when considering a Condominium purchase. These documents will cover daily life as a condo owner, such as condo fees, how many guests you can have at any given time, rental issues, rules for the pool, tennis court and golf courses, even parking spaces and types of vehicles will be mentioned. Information on common areas, maintenance and what amenities the Condo provides to you as an owner, as well as the yearly cost of the Home Owners Association fees.

Many condominiums have a screening process in the form of an approval application some charge a fee and even have the first right of refusal. This means that you have to be approved first before you can own the condo and your tenants will have to also be approved. Pet policy is another important consideration, the documentation will let you know if you can have a pet, how many pets per unit and even the size or bread the association will or will not allow. Remember when you purchase a Condominium you agree to abide by the rules and regulations set by the Condo Association, so find the right fit for your lifestyle.

Side Note: When your offer to purchase is accepted by the seller they must provide you with a copy of the Condominium Association Documents for your review, you will have a 3 day recession period on existing condos and 15 calendar days for new construction.

Happy Condo Hunting!

Deborah Link

St Augustine Team Realty