Real Estate Tips: The Offer Timeline

When you begin the process to purchase a home, there are many dates and deadlines you'll have to know, in addition to significant amounts of paperwork to review, in some cases upwards of 200+ documents! As your Realtor will (or should ;)) advise and keep track of these milestones, I still wanted to share my free printable guide for you to reference, just in case. Note that the four key dates I have noted within the transaction timeline are all negotiable, so consider these timelines the standard, but they can be adjusted if agreed upon by buyer and seller. All of these milestones are based off of the day the final offer is accepted.

  1. Day 1 (not noted below): Starts the day after the offer is accepted. 
  2. Day 3: The initial deposit, also referred to as 'Earnest Money' or ' a good faith deposit' (must be liquid funds) is due to escrow, along with all final signed documents. The funds can be anywhere between 1% and 3% of the total purchase price, but there frankly is no maximum to how much you can put forth. However, be aware that if you decide to back out of the offer as to no fault of the property or seller after the contingency period is over (post 21 days), you could be out of some cash, as these funds being fully returned will be at risk for Default for Breech of Contract. Make sure you consult with your Realtor on the best approach for your transaction.
  3. Day 7: All documents (full disclosure agreement) are due to the buyer for full review. 
  4. Day 17: After acceptance, the contingency removal due/removed, unless negotiated more or less days defined in the RPA (residential purchase agreement). NOTE: Within the 17 days (or however many were agreed upon) the buyer can cancel the offer for any reason.
  5. Day 21: After acceptance, the loan contingency is due/removed, unless noted more or less days in the RPA. This also means that all contingencies have been removed, therefore, if the buyer doesn't perform towards COE (close of escrow), the buyer's initial deposit (see Day 3) could be in jeopardy for Default of Breach of Contract. 

NOTE: All deadlines noted above are negotiable and based on what is agreed upon in the original RPA (residential purchase agreement).

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