Let's Make a Deal

You've got an offer from a buyer. Now what do you do?
TS-86498301_for-sale-sign_s4x3

TS-86498301_for-sale-sign_s4x3

For sale sign by house exterior

Photo by: Jupiterimages

Jupiterimages

By: Tammy Stoner

A buyer makes an offer, and you have accepted! This moment might bring more tears than the day you got engaged. And like an engagement, you may have the ring but you ain't married yet.

Earnest Money

Another similarity to an engagement: If things don't work out, you may get to keep the ring. In this case the ring is the "good faith" or "earnest" money. This money is held in a neutral account called an escrow for a specified period. If the deal goes through, the money is applied to the purchase price at closing. If the deal does not go through, it's possible the seller can keep the earnest money. There is no set amount for this nonrefundable earnest money, though it's often in the thousands of dollars.

Escrow

Finally, escrow! Escrow is very much like Limbo --- a place where souls wait nervously with their prayer beads until they can make passage to their eternal reward. In this case, the payoff is a completed real estate deal. Passage to the better place occurs when the buyer can pay for the house and the seller can transfer title.

A person called an escrow officer handles the details on your (the seller's) end, including title search, record disbursement, paper statements, and the payout of fees and other costs.

Should You Get a Lawyer?

Even if you have a Realtor --- but especially if you don't --- consider hiring a real estate lawyer to look over the details of the deal. Or, at the very least, take a day to look over and question anything that seems odd on your reports before signing off. This is a big, big purchase.

Then, with pen held firmly in hand, sign on the dozens of dotted lines and Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! You win the grand prize --- your house is sold!

Keep Reading

Next Up

Real Estate Survival Guide: Seller's Checklist

Refer to this 10-step checklist to get you through the home-selling process.

Real Estate Survival Guide: Buyer's Checklist

Refer to this 10-step checklist to get you through the homebuying process.

Fresh News for 'Fixer Upper' Fans: Chip and Joanna to Open 'Hillcrest Estate' in Waco

Chip and Joanna Gaines announce their latest project — a beautifully restored colonial style home that will open as a vacation rental property.

Build or Buy? Making the Right Decision

It's more than deciding on the right carpet-tile combination. Before you hire a builder or sign on a dotted line, read these tips to make sure you're getting the best house for your buck.

How to Deal With Pests

Your garden will never be completely free of pests, but damage can be limited by creating barriers to keep them at bay.

Linoleum Makes a Comeback

This practical and eco-friendly flooring is being rediscovered by homeowners.

How to Make Glittered Pumpkins

Shake up your Halloween decor with these colorful glittered pumpkins. A great project for kids, creating these sparkling pumpkins is quick, easy and fun. Plus, since the pumpkins remain whole, they'll last much longer than carved ones.

How to Make Foam Halloween Tombstones

These hand carved and painted tombstones are an inexpensive and easy way to create a personalized and creative outdoor Halloween display.

How to Make Peekaboo Pumpkins

Create a spooktacular vignette of peeking pumpkins using miniature gourds and a variety of inexpensive bowls and lidded dishes.

On TV

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.