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Parts 1 (Overview of Offer) and 2 (Provisions in your offer & contract) in this blog series discussed the offer to purchase and important contract provisions. Now that you have a signed contract, what’s next?

Once you have a signed agreement, a buyer has some important jobs.

As explained in Part 2, your contract will have certain “contingencies” which allow the purchaser to “back out” of the deal and cancel the contract. The most common are home inspection and mortgage approval, although there may be others depending on your specific situation. Each of these clauses in the purchase and sale agreement will have specific dates associated with them. Those dates will need to be monitored to be sure that each task is performed by the stated deadline.

For most buyers, the next important step is getting their home inspection completed. The buyer will need to select a firm to perform the inspection, and the buyer should accompany the inspector when they do the home inspection. The date of the inspection and access to the premises is arranged by the real estate agents. The inspection contingency will require that the home inspection be performed by a certain date and that the seller be notified of any deficiencies within a certain period. It is up to the buyer to make sure that all applicable dates and deadlines are complied with. The buyer’s and seller’s real estate agents will also assist with negotiating a resolution to any issues found through the home inspection.

The buyer will also need to forward a copy of the purchase and sale agreement to their mortgage lender. The lender will require the buyer to provide various documents, such as a completed loan application and various financial documents such as pay stubs and bank statements. It is important that the buyer work closely with their lender to obtain a loan approval by the mortgage contingency date in the purchase and sale agreement. If a full, written mortgage commitment is not obtained by that date, a request for an extension should be forwarded to the seller.

If each party has not already had the contract reviewed by their attorney (which is strongly recommended before signing) now is the time that the seller and buyer need to select and retain an attorney for the transaction. The attorney will need a copy of the purchase and sale agreement and any addenda, as well as the contact information for the other parties involved, such as the real estate agents and mortgage loan officer.

Assuming the inspection goes well and you are approved for a loan, it is on to closing! That will be the next installment in this series.

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