Consider The Items In The Offer

Each individual item in a formal offer should be checked carefully.

The Price

The first item to consider is the price. This is usually the fact that determines whether the seller will close or lose the deal.

•   Insistence on too high a price will drive the buyer away, but accepting a price that is too low negates the financial advantages of selling your own home.

•  Remember, your research will have told you the reasonable market spread between list price and actual selling price. Now is the time to apply your knowledge.

•   Prospective buyers may estimate the cost of correcting and updating the property (wiring, old broadloom, plumbing, roof) and deduct these costs from their price offer. You will have taken these factors into account when appraising the property and the price should not be negotiable on that basis, unless the buyer turns up a new problem.

•   Attitudes about negotiating vary. Some people feel uncomfortable about dickering, while others will offer less for everything on principle. Re gardless of how you feel about negotiation, try to assess whether you can negotiate with the prospective purchaser to arrive at a figure that is within range of your chosen price.

The Conditional Offer

A conditional offer is like a promissory note. The buyer will purchase the home only if certain conditions can be met:

• Home Inspection. The buyer states that he or she will only finalize the offer after reading the report of an inspector who has checked out the property, "warts and all". This should not take longer than twenty-four to forty-eight hours.

Look dear, another conditional offer.

•  Architect's/engineer's report. The prospective buyer has decided to purchase the property subject to the advice of these experts. Again it should not take longer than twenty-four to forty-eight hours.

•  Financing. Many offers are made conditional on financing. This may be a reasonable request if the offer is within your price range and the time limit requested to find financing is also reasonable (usually ten working days).

•   Selling their own house. We do not recommend that you accept this as a condition. You could miss the market while waiting for these buyers to firm up. It is too risky, unless you include an escape clause giving you an out if another offer is received, and putting a strict time limit on this.