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    Understanding the Back-Up Offer

    When can I consider my home sold?

    This is one of the most common questions
    real estate agents are asked. While the laws vary in different states, generally the
    contract is binding once both parties sign the offer. At that time the closing
    process begins. This is also the time when sellers must stop considering other
    offers, but they can accept backup offers.

    What is a backup offer? This is when the seller accepts an offer contingent upon
    the first one falling through. There are many reasons why the home purchase
    might not close—the buyer may fail to secure the loan, the home inspection may
    find issues the two parties can’t resolve, it could even be that the Homeowner’s
    Association has rules that the buyer is unprepared to accept. Whatever the
    reason, real estate agents know that the deal isn’t done until it closes.

    A backup offer should be carefully executed. Both buyer and seller must be able
    to pursue other options. Unless the buyer is willing to wait without seeking an
    alternative property, the backup offer should be written to allow for the
    possibility that they find an alternative home in the meantime. The seller, on the
    other hand, must make clear they are currently obligated to another buyer and
    will consider the backup offer only if the current one cancels.

    Back-up offers can be a great tool in a fast-moving real estate market. Writing the
    offer virtually guarantees the listing agent will notify you if the home becomes
    available again. This gives the buyer an advantage in a seller’s market, increasing
    the opportunity to capitalize on a home that fell out of contract.

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