Due to the money involved, a real estate transaction is often the most complex deal that most people will ever face. There’s plenty of paperwork to complete, negotiations to settle, rules and laws to comply with etc. Once the ‘honeymoon phase’ of home searching ends, it’s time to suit up and get down to work before someone else beats you to your dream property.
You can’t buy a house without first making a formal offer on it. In the state of Oklahoma this offer is made in writing on a standard contract form called the Oklahoma Uniform Contract of Sale of Real Estate. It is a legal document that informs the seller about the price you’re willing to pay for the home. Once you’ve decided on a property to buy, your real estate agent will fill out this contract form and you will sign it. This is now an offer and it is then submitted to the seller or their agent. The seller can then choose to accept, counter, or reject your offer to purchase the property. Once the seller accepts your offer by signing this contract, it is said that the buyer and seller have come to a meeting of minds and an official agreement has been made between buyer and seller. That agreement is called a real estate sales contract.
In Oklahoma the Statute of Frauds requires that all real estate sales transactions be made in writing. The four corners of the contract are where all the details of the transaction are spelled out and agreed to by the buyer and seller. Emails, texts, and phone conversations are considered to be verbal and indicate intent, but are not binding, since real estate sales transactions must be done in writing, i.e., on the contract between buyer and seller.
The standard contract form is a template provided by the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission.
The template will vary from state to state, depending on the real estate laws in that state. That said, most offers contain these key components:
- Address and legal description of the property
- Sale price
- Mode of payment
- Closing date
- Earnest money deposit
- Description of included appliances and fixtures
- Prorated taxes and utilities special assessments
- Sewage and water
- Broker services representation
- Special assessments
- Contingency clauses
There are many negotiable aspects to an offer, and so you have to choose your battles wisely. You can be firm on some items and be flexible on others. Expect to make compromises, and identify the items that are non-negotiable beforehand. Consider dropping some request from the contingency clause with care, and send the seller a personal letter to help sway them. Ask a Realtor for help regarding whether you should go over or below asking price.
How to Make an Offer on a House – Tips & Strategies to Win, MoneyCrashers.com