First Time Buyers – My offer was accepted. What do I do now?

OMG, the Seller accepted my latest offer; what do I do now?


Congratulations, now the real work begins. First, read through the complete agreement again; especially if you and the Seller have negotiated changes to the original offer through several counter –offers. Second, you should make a list of all of the things that are in the agreement that have specific deadlines. Those will usually include the home inspection, your application for a mortgage, the title policy commit, the target closing date, and perhaps things like a home warranty. This list will help you keep track of all of the things that need to happen in the next 30 days.

Your agent will be in touch with you to arrange a date the home inspection, which usually needs to be done within 7-10 days of the agreement date, and will provide you with a list of home inspectors that you may wish to choose from. It is your responsibility to actually contract with the inspector and fix the date of the inspection. Keep your agent in the loop so that he/she can make the home inspection appointment. Your agent is usually required to be at the inspection with you and you definitely should be there.

Inform your mortgage agent that you have an accepted offer and send him/her a copy of the complete Purchase Agreement packet. Your mortgage agent will probably arrange for you to meet with him/her to actually sign a mortgage application.

If haven’t already got your paperwork together for your mortgage agent, he/she will give you a list of documents that the mortgage underwriter will need from you. They might include things like your last two tax returns, pay stubs from your last 2-3 paychecks, bank statements, credit card statement and more. You will keep no financial secrets from the mortgage underwriter. You may also have to get a confirmation of employment letter from your employer.

Your mortgage agent should send you a letter (email will do) that your agent can forward to the Seller’s agent indicating that you have applied for the mortgage. That is one of the things that should have been on your list of items with deadlines.

Your buyer agent or your mortgage agent will also have you set up your homeowners’ insurance policy and accounts with the utility companies for gas and electric, so that those utilities can be “transitioned over” without interruption. You may also wish to get things like cable or satellite services set up. You may wish to fill out, and have ready to turn in, a mail forwarding form to insure that mail is forwarded from your old address to the new address.

If you are going to be using money that is being gifted to you by parents or relatives for your down payment or to cover closing costs, you’ll need to get a gifting letter from them. Your mortgage person can instruct you on what they letter needs to say.

You may also wish to make arrangements for your move to the new house, ether by contracting with a moving company or lining up a moving truck or trailer to rent (and a bunch of friends to help). Since there is always a chance that the deal could fall through all the way up to the closing, don’t get yourself locked into anything that cannot be canceled. Make sure that you understand when you will actually be able to take possession, especially if the Seller has negotiated some post-closing occupancy.

Any need/desire that you have to move some of your stuff into the property before the Seller has moved out must be negotiated and agreed to in writing with the Seller.

So, you can see that there are a lot of things that you will need to be doing in the 30 days or so that elapse from the time the agreement is sign and the closing date. There are also things that you should not do:

  •  Don’t go out and start buying furniture (or anything major), especially on credit. Any big, new purchases that you make will show up on your credit report and impact whether you still qualify for your mortgage. Make no mistake, the mortgage underwriter will see them and factor them into the decision on the mortgage.
  •  Don’t bug the Seller too much for visits to the property before closing. The Sellers are busy trying to get ready to move out and don’t need you constantly bugging them for another visit, so that you can measure something. Do your measuring of rooms during the home inspection visit.
  •  Don’t go hog-wild with your remodeling ideas. You may have plans in mind for major changes, but it is best get into the home and get a good feel for how living there works now, before you start planning for tearing out walls or making major additions.
  •  Don’t plan a vacation during the 30 days following the acceptance of your offer. Both your Realtor and your mortgage agent will need to be in touch with your and may need things from you. Being in vacation may make getting the things that they need impossible.

This is an exciting, and for some a stressful, time that will go by much faster than you think. There are lots of things that need to happen in order to get to closing and things that you need to get done in order to become a home owner. Stay in close touch with both your Realtor and your mortgage agent. They go through this phase of the sale all the time and know how to advise you. There are still things that can go wrong, as are pointed out in this article by Elizabeth Wientraub, so temper yor enthusiasm with the reality that you still have lots of things to get through before the house becomes your new home.

Norm Werner is a Realtor® working for Real Estate One in Milford, Michigan. Norms helps people buy and sell houses in Southeastern Michigan, in Oakland, Livingston and Macomb Counties You can contact Norm about finding a new home or about getting a Market Analysis for your current home by texting or calling him at 248-763-2497 or click here to go to his web site and fill out Help Form for buyers and sellers.

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