Steps to Take After Your Offer to Purchase a House Has Been Accepted

Congratulations! You have gone through the rigorous process of picking a house and placing on offer, and your seller has accepted. With the excitement whirling, there are a few more details that need to take place to make sure this house is truly yours. Here are 5 steps to do immediately after your offer to purchase a house has been accepted.

  1. Earnest Money

Once you come to agreement about a price, the next step will be to write a check for earnest money. Earnest money is essentially money paid to confirm a contract. This is money that you give in good faith to show that you are a serious buyer. The amount will typically be a modest amount –about 1-2% of the price of the home. The good thing to remember is that this money will roll into your down payment. 

The check should not be written out to the seller directly, but to the escrow company. The buyer’s real estate agency can be the ones to hold the money. The buyers can receive the money back if something comes up in the home inspection.

Having the earnest money on hand keeps frivolous and less serious buyers away. Without earnest money, people could make offers on many different homes, taking them off the market, as one waits to decide what home they want.

Make sure to check your contract to see what exactly is specified in regards to what it will take to get the earnest money back as it can differ from contract to contract. This is a great question to discuss with your real estate agent and your attorney.

  1. Home Inspection

The next step you will need to take is a home inspection on your future home. Your real estate agent is a great resource for you when it comes to finding a reliable home inspector. Your contract will determine how many days you have to complete the home inspection, but it is a good idea to find a trusted inspector and schedule it as soon as possible. It is typical to have five days to complete a home inspection once the offer has been signed. If you are traveling or need more time, you can request in your contract an extended amount of days.

A home inspector will examine the condition of the home. This is different than an appraisal, which we will talk about. While inspections may include different things, all look to make sure that the house is up to code. To get a checklist of what might be included in a home inspection, please see, Home Inspection Checklist. You and your agent may be present at the time of the home inspection. The home inspector will write a report, add photos, and send you the report. Expect to pay $400 – $600 on your home inspection. Once the report comes back, you will respond with the line items that you would like to request be done.

You will also be asked if you want to perform a radon test. According to IEMA, “Radon is radioactive element that is part of the radioactive decay chain of naturally occurring uranium in soil.” It can’t be seen or smelled or tasted and is the second leading cause to lung cancer. The test can be done by your home inspector and can cost $150 – $250. Each state has different minimum levels of radon. If the radon levels come back above those minimum levels, you can request that the home be mitigated.

  1. Lender Documents

Before making an offer, you might have had a preapproval from your lender. Once your offer has been accepted, contact your lender to let them know. They will help direct you to the documents that you will need to sign and help you lock in an interest rate.

  1. Appraisal

The appraisal should be ordered as soon as you have completed your home inspection.  Your lender will require the appraisal and will normally select the professional appraiser. The home appraisal will include a detailed report on the value of the house.

  1. Final Walk Through

Before the closing date, you will have the opportunity to walk through the home and make sure all the items that you requested in your home inspection have been completed.

Take Away

Buying a home is such an exciting experience. Knowing the little steps and details that are come along with making such a serious purchases will help ease your stress.  These 5 steps are the basic ones that you need to know about for right after you have finalized an offer and contract. Your real estate agent is a great resource for you to ask any questions that you have and to help walk you through all the details.