Writing a purchase offer on a home can be a very intimidating process. On one hand, you don’t want to offend the seller by offering too low a price, but on the other hand you also don’t want to end up paying too much. If you’re not used to negotiating it can be quite overwhelming.
This is why having a good realtor on your side is extremely important. You are the one leading the transaction but you also need someone who can protect your interests and help you figure out where there is room to negotiate and how to do it.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT CHATTEL
It’s also important to have an experienced person writing up the terms of the contract. Having clearly worded and exact language in the contract ensures that there aren’t any surprises later. For example, when the sellers’ realtor determines the price at which the house will be listed, this typically does not include items know as chattels.
It sounds like a really old-fashioned word but a chattel is basically anything in the house or on the land that is not affixed.
These are things like drapes, a washer and dryer, kitchen appliances, art on the walls, or furniture. It’s common to have things like washers and dryers included, but this still needs to be spelled out explicitly in the contract. If you love how the drapes in the living room look, or even how the piece of artwork on a particularly strange shaped wall looks, you can include them in your purchase offer. The seller may reject your proposal but that’s what the process of negotiation is all about.
There are some areas where chattel can be a little less clear. For example, most people would assume that any play structure, shed or out building would be included with the property, however some are moveable and not affixed to the land, and thus count as chattel. It’s always better to be specific if there is any doubt in a situation like this and list the shed in the list of things included in the purchase price.
THE SUBJECTS SECTION
The “Subjects” section of a purchase contact is similarly important. In this section, you specify what conditions must be satisfied before the purchase offer can be considered firm. For example, the purchase should be subject to the buyer obtaining an inspection of the property that he or she finds satisfactory. In the case of buying a condo, you should have a subject regarding viewing and approving the condo minutes – there are some really important bits of information included in there such as planned improvements or financial info.
And, if you’re relying on a mortgage to make the purchase, there should also be a financing subject that states that the offer is not firm until you’ve obtained satisfactory (firm, not only a pre-approval) financing.
You then set a specific date, typically between one and two weeks from the date the offer is accepted, that these subjects must be satisfied by or the offer will be considered void. This is called “Subject Removal”.
YOU’RE IN CHARGE
The most important thing to remember here is that as the purchaser, you are the leader in the transaction.
You can make any offer you want to make, and your realtor can advise as to how likely it is that the buyer will accept your terms given current market conditions and the reasonableness of what you’re asking for.
The process can be somewhat overwhelming, especially when there’s a property you love on the line, making it hard to separate emotions from the situation. However, with a great mortgage broker and realtor team on your side, you can make it happen.