Once you've found the home that's right for you, the next step is writing a purchase agreement (also called an offer) and negotiating the terms of the sale.
The purchase agreement is a written legal agreement that, if accepted by both parties, binds the sale and begins the closing process. Among other items, it includes the price you're willing to pay for the property, the date of the closing and when you'll assume possession, the type of financing package you have chosen, who is expected to pay any special assessments and a list of items to be included in the sale (i.e. appliances and drapes).
Once the purchase agreement has been presented to the seller, the seller's agent will provide the seller's response to the terms of your offer. The seller may accept, reject or submit a counter-offer for your consideration. With the counsel of your real estate agent, you then have the option to accept, reject or counter their offer. Once you and the seller reach an agreement, necessary signatures are collected and the transaction moves on to the closing.
Offers are often written "subject to home inspection," which means a buyer doesn't have to commit to purchasing the home until an inspection is completed and the results are reviewed. Once your offer has been accepted, it's wise to have the home inspected by a professional for an in-depth evaluation of the roof, foundation, mechanicals and other features.