In this column, we are going to review the all important steps of the Intown Atlanta Real Estate Buyers Guide | Making Your Offer — The Contract! This is the exciting time, as it means all the other steps have fallen into place and we have found you the home you’ve been looking for. Now we need to make our offer!
In Georgia, most real estate agents use standard contracts that have been created by the Georgia Association of REALTORS. (GAR) The GAR contract has been developed, and refined over the years to cover most anything and everything that has come up in real estate transactions in the past. While the entire contract and its contents are important, I’m going to focus on a few key points here.
- Purchase Price and Method of Payment — Here is where you will indicate the amount you are offering for the property.
- Amount and Deposit of Earnest Money — Here you will indicate the amount of earnest money (like a down payment, but show your seriousness in making the purchase) and if the earnest money has actually been received by your agent/broker, or WHEN it will be received and deposited.
- Closing Costs –These are all the costs associated with the settlement and closing on the property. If you are paying cash, this will be a much lower expense. But most likely, you will be obtaining a mortgage and as such there are expenses involved with same. Here you are asking the Seller to pay all, or a portion of those closing costs.
- Closing Date and Transfer of Possession — This is important for a number of reasons. You might want to purchase the home/condo and move in the next 30 days (provided your loan can be approved that fast) But the Seller may not be able to move that fast. Or perhaps you want a longer closing date, and the Seller is concerned that their home will be off the market all this time, and should the sale not be completed, they have lost valuable marketing time. You will not know the Seller’s intentions about a move out and possession date till you make an offer. However, if you, as a Buyer, know you have a limited amount of time to be move into your new home, have your agent inquiry before you make an offer about the time frame.
- Property Sold Subject to Due Diligence Period — Perhaps one of the most important paragraphs in the contract!!! In Georgia, during your Due Diligence period, you may terminate your contract for any reason whatsoever. Maybe you got cold feet, or just learned of a pending job transfer, or job loss….you can get out of your contract and receive your earnest money back. But also during this time, you will be conducting your inspections and doing all the looking you feel necessary during this time period. This Due Diligence period is a seperate item from any other contingencies you may have such as financing.
- Exhibits and Addenda — Here is where various exhibits are included as part of your contract. They include, but are not limited to Appraisal Contingency and Sale or Lease of Buyer’s Property Contingency as well as other items such as Lead Based Paint and the Community Association Disclosure (HOA).
- Special Stipulations — Here you cover any other specific items that have not been covered in the contract. Again, a couple examples would be the Seller paying for a Home Warranty for the Buyer, condition of systems in the home or condo, etc.
You can find the 2018 Buyer Contract Package HERE! The only difference in the package between a single family home and a condominium is the Seller’s Disclosure Statement and you won’t have a Condominium Exhibit.
Indeed, as part of the Intown Atlanta Real Estate Buyers Guide | Making Your Offer – The Contract, this is an important step on the way to owning that dream home you’ve found with me!