Three Things That Can Happen After Putting an Offer on a Home


After searching for the perfect place to call home, you finally find one that perfectly suits your family and lifestyle. You decide to put in an offer and cross your fingers that all goes well at the negotiating table. Of course, an offer should only be submitted after careful consideration of the offer price, earnest deposit amount, and closing date, among other things. The seller will certainly carefully analyze all aspects of the offer before making their move.

So, what happens after you’ve put in an offer on a home?

Your Offer is Countered

This is a typical scenario in an offer situation. Sellers can counter an offer based on more than just upping the purchase price. They can also counter based on things like the closing date, contingencies, earnest deposit, and so on. If the seller counters your offer for whatever reason, you have another shot at offering closer to what they’re looking for.

If you’re fine with what the seller countered with, you can accept the offer and the deal now enters escrow. On the other hand, if you don’t like the counteroffer and want to counter yourself, you’re free to do so. You and your real estate agent should carefully review the counter offer before deciding upon the changes that you end up making.

Keep in mind that once you counter the offer and submit it to the seller, you’re obligated to go through with the contract if the sellers accept your counter offer. That’s why it’s critical to make sure you’re fine with the offer that you make. 

This back-and-forth bantering can go on and on until someone accepts or rejects the offer.

Your Offer is Rejected

Sometimes sellers don’t even bother with a counter offer if they don’t like what they see and reject it altogether. This can happen if sellers are offended or upset about a low-ball offer, but it can also happen if there are far too many contingencies or the closing date is way out of their range, for instance.

If this happens to you, stop and re-evaluate your offer. If you’re still keen in the home and aren’t ready to give up on it just yet, you can submit a new offer a few days later after the dust has settled. Just make sure that it accurately reflects a price that matches the home’s current market value. Submit a list of comparables with your offer as proof that what you’re offering is fair.

Of course, you can always just move on and continue with your search until you reach a successful deal, as the price gap between what you’re willing to pay and what the seller is willing to take is probably too wide to bridge. There will always be other homes out there that you’ll love that can suit your needs.

Your Offer is Accepted

This is precisely what every buyer wants. Now all you need to do is cover all your bases during the escrow process to make sure the deal successfully closes. This is the exciting part! But, it’s also the start of a whole new phase of tasks for you to complete.

For starters, you’ll need to make sure you have your financing in order. Send your lender a copy of your purchase agreement and submit all the requested documents needed to get the ball rolling for mortgage approval. You will also need to secure homeowners’ insurance before your lender approves your home loan, so get on the phone with an insurance provider to put a policy into effect by the time closing day arrives.

You’ll then want to schedule a home inspection (if you’ve inserted a contingency that allows for this, which you should have). This will give you the chance to see if there is anything potentially wrong with the home that would warrant renegotiation. Or else, you could walk away from the deal altogether.

Lastly, conduct a final walk-through. Your real estate contract should include a contingency that allows you to scope out the property one last time right before closing day to make sure the home is in the exact same condition that it was in before you agreed to purchase it and that everything is where it’s supposed to be.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the goal is to get the seller to accept your offer. Whether that happens right off the bat or after countless back-and-forth counter offers, both parties inevitably want to end up with a deal they’re satisfied with. Your best bet is to work closely with an experienced real estate agent who will provide you with sound advice about how to optimally draft an offer that the seller will accept, as long as you’re comfortable with it.