What to Expect After a Seller Accepts Your Offer

Buying a home takes time, energy, and immense focus.  You have to get your loan pre-approval completed.  You have to find the house.  You have to structure a strong offer, and you have to execute a sales contract.  It can be an exhausting process, and it will probably involve more paperwork than you’ve ever dreamed of dealing with.  Then one day, you finally have a signed sales contract in-hand.  It feels like all of the work is done, right?  Not quite yet.  There’s still a bit more that has to be done to close the transaction.  

What Happens After Your Offer is Accepted?

So, what happens next?  We’re going to lay out a home buyer’s checklist that will take you through the final steps of the process after you’ve accepted an offer.  Just be careful not to skip any of these steps, as it can delay your closing or even cost you the entire home purchase.  

Here’s what you should do once you accept an offer:  

  1. Earnest Money – There needs to be some cash involved upfront to protect the seller’s interests while they take their house off the market. Earnest money is your proof as a buyer that you are serious about purchasing their home.  So, make sure that you deliver the earnest money in the format and timeline agreed upon in your sales contract.
  2. Property Inspection – Once that executed sales contract is in your hands, the clock starts on your inspection period.  First, things first – make sure you know exactly how long your inspection period is.  Choose your inspector(s), and get them scheduled as soon as possible to determine if any repairs are needed, and complete them in a timely manner.
  3. Lender Documents – Again, as soon as you have an executed sales contract, you need to communicate with your mortgage lender so that they can start the mortgage process. Be prepared to provide lots of documentation throughout this transaction, and make sure that you get any requested documentation to them as soon as possible to ensure that everything is filed in a timely manner.
  4. Title Commitment – The Title Company handles this step.  They will issue a title commitment that reviews the title history of the property.  The history will reveal any liens against the property that need to be resolved before closing.  Be sure to review the title commitment once you receive it from the title company, and ask an attorney for advice if anything concerning pops up.
  5. Appraisal – Once you clear the inspection process, let your lender know as soon as possible. They will order a home appraisal to verify that the value of the home your purchasing is worth the loan amount that you are asking for. 
  6. Insurance – Your lender will then require you to get a Home Owner’s Insurance Policy on the property that you are purchasing.  Shop around, choose your insurance provider, and provide the relevant information to the title company and your lender.
  7. Turn on the Utilities – In the final stages of the process, you’ll want to get your utilities turned on and/or transferred into your name before closing.
  8. Schedule a Closing Date & Time –  Your sales contract will have an agreed upon closing date.  So, make sure that you and your realtor have contacted the title company well in advance to make sure that they have a time slot open that is convenient for everyone.  Schedule your closing early on to make sure that the title company has a convenient time slot open.
  9. Final Walk-Through – Before closing, do one final walk-through to make sure that everything is ready for closing.  Verify that any and all repairs have been completed, that all of the seller’s personal belongings have been moved out, and that the home is completely ready to move in.
  10. Close the Deal – On the day of closing, be sure to bring your photo ID and certified funds (if applicable).  Be sure to be on time!  

All of this might seem like a lot to do, but let us assure you that you can get through it with the right support system in place, and in the end, it will be extremely rewarding.  Once you sign the papers at closing and get your keys, all of the energy and hard work will be worth it as you walk into your new home.

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