What to Expect When Your House goes under contract15 May Monica Breckenridge
Once you obtain an offer on your home, it is time to celebrate as it may take several rounds of negotiation before a final price and terms are accepted.
Inclusions and Exclusions
The buyer may ask for certain items to be included in the sale. Most of these items are items you may have already agreed to leave behind. For example, the buyer may want the kitchen appliances and the washer and dryer. If you agree to leave an item with the house, you must make sure they stay in the home. You cannot take them or sell them. Please note if the refrigerator is included in the contract you cannot swap the refrigerator for a new one. You would need to exclude the refrigerator and add a new one to the contract. This would be part of the contract negotiations. We have seen sellers in the past decide they want to take their stainless steel refrigerator with them to their new house and then they put the refrigerator from the garage in the kitchen. This can't happen. The refrigerator that was in the property at the and specified in the contract needs to stay in the home. The home has to be in the same condition as when the buyers went under contract. This means you can't swap things out.
All attachments to the home are automatically included contractually unless you specify that it is excluded. This includes your sheds, awnings, screen doors, bathroom mirrors, and curtains and rods. So if you plan to take any of these items you will need to discuss this with your agent to make sure it is not included in the sale of your home.
Dates, deadlines, and Earnest Money
The contract will include many dates and deadlines for items that must be done by a certain date. These dates include things such as when the buyer must complete their inspection and appraisal. Please be aware that a buyer can terminate their contract before their deadlines and get their earnest money back. Therefore, if a buyer terminates a contract because their loan approval did not go through and they terminate before their deadline, they can get their earnest money back. If a buyer terminates after their deadline, the seller is usually able to keep the earnest money. However, as the seller, you are locked in when you sign the contract and cannot terminate. There are a few exceptions though and as your agents we know ways to help you get out of a contract if you happen to receive a higher offer. If you default on your end of the contract then the buyer can walk and ask for their earnest money to be returned due to seller default. Some ways you can default on a contract are not closing on time, not getting all the due diligence items to the buyer, not getting the Homeowners Association documents to the buyer. Your REALTOR will make sure you are not defaulting on the contract and will look out for your best interests.
When a buyer goes under contract, they must put earnest money down. The amount of earnest money typically depends on the sales price. 1% of the Sales Price is standard. So if the home is listed at $250,000 the Earnest Money is around $2,500. The earnest money is consideration for the purchase transaction and shows that the buyer is working in good faith to buy your house.