Fabulous! You’ve found the perfect home and want to put in an offer. In today’s market we need to put your offer in asap; ideally within a few hours. Before we can put an offer in on a home, there are a few things we need you to email to us:
Full legal name: Please email us the full legal name of anyone who will be on the contract as well as their phone number and email address.
Offer price: What price do you want to offer for the home? Let’s have a discussion about the sale to list price in the neighborhood if we haven’t already as that will tell you a lot about whether you should expect to pay below asking price, asking price, or above asking price based on today’s market.
Your walk away price: Don’t expect to pay your initial offer price as it’s rare for a seller to accept your initial offer without some negotiating back and forth. That’s why it’s called an initial offer. In addition to deciding what offer you want to put in to start, we need you to decide now how much you’re willing to pay for this property and what your walk away price is before thing get heated and emotional.
Closing date: Typically in Chicago, closing takes place 45-60 days from contract acceptance. Sometimes you can ask for a longer closing date depending on the seller’s needs, but we wouldn’t expect it. Therefore, if you want to move around July 1, plan on putting in offers at the beginning of May. If you’re paying 100% cash you can often close faster than 30 days (around 21 days), but 45 days is usually the required minimum if you’re using a mortgage to buy the property.
Earnest money: How much earnest money are you comfortable putting down on this property? Typically, contracts in Chicago ask for 10% of the purchase price as earnest money, although we usually write 5% in our contracts. This earnest money is due in two payments. Generally the first payment is due 1-2 business days after you and the sellers have signed the contract. The second earnest money check is due 2 business days after the inspection and attorney review is completed, generally about 1 – 2 weeks after everyone has signed the contract. The earnest money is part of your down payment. Therefore, if you’re planning to put $40,000 down for a down payment and you’re paying $15,000 in earnest money then at closing you would owe an additional $25,000 for the remainder of the down payment.
Down payment: For the contract, we need to know how much you’re going to put down for your down payment.
Closing cost credits: Do you want to ask for any credits for closing costs which would go towards the amount of closing cost fees you have to pay for on top of your down payment?
Home warranty: Do you want to ask the seller to provide a home warranty on the property?
Contingencies: Any other contingencies we need to be aware of? Do you need to sell your current home before we can buy this home?
Lastly, buyers sometimes want to know what happens if the contract is accepted and they have a change of heart or the inspection reveals a huge problem. Read here for information on getting out of a signed contract
Want to review the contract in advance?
Once we’ve talked through the above and you’ve emailed us your answers, we’ll write the contract and have you sign it via a program called DocuSign. Click here to watch a video on signing documents electronically via DocuSign. We’ll then submit it to the seller’s agent. While negotiations sometimes go quickly, be prepared that it could take 24 – 72 hours to negotiate the purchase price if the seller is out of town, wants to sleep on the offer for a night, if we’re dealing with a bank, etc. Every seller is different and some people can make decisions quickly whereas others need time to think things through. Patience is now the name of the game once an offer has been submitted!