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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