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Counter Offer

When sellers receive a purchase offer from a would-be buyer, remember that unless they accept it exactly as it stands, unconditionally, the buyer will be free to walk away. Any change the proposed buyer makes in a counteroffer puts the seller at risk of losing that chance to sell.

Who pays for what items is often determined by local custom. Sellers can, however, arrive at any agreement they and the buyers want about who pays for different costs. Some examples of what can be negotiated on who pays:

  • Buyer's closing costs

  • Points to the buyer's lender

  • Buyer's broker fee

  • Repairs required by the lender

  • Home protection policy

  • ​Termite inspection

  • Survey

Sellers may feel some of these costs are not their responsibility, but many buyers—particularly first-timers—are short of cash. Helping a buyer may be the best way to get a home sold.

Whether you're buying or selling, make sure a real estate agent and/or an attorney evaluate all terms in the offer and counteroffers.

As soon as both parties accept the written offer, you have a legal contract.

You can accept or reject it or to even make your own counteroffer—for example, "We accept the counteroffer with the higher price, except we still insist on having the pool table."

Each time either party makes any change in the terms, the other side is free to accept or reject the offer or counter again. The document becomes a binding contract only when one party finally signs an unconditional acceptance of the other side's proposal.

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