Home Sellers-How To Read A Buyer’s Offer

Yes! You’ve gotten an offer from someone who wants to buy your home. Now, how do you read and understand the fine print of all those pages??? I will help you read a buyer’s offer.

Just to clarify, the purchase offer generally consists of:

  • Residential Purchase Agreement (RPA) – 10 pages
  • Disclosure forms

The first two pages of the purchase agreement (RPA) is the most important and impacts you the most as a seller, so we will start with those:

Besides the all-important purchase price on page one, the escrow time-frame is in section 1D, and deposit amount in 3A are ones to note. Most home sellers want shorter escrow time periods since that is the quicker they get paid (although 30 days is the most common). When it comes to the deposit, more is better-since the potential buyer is showing they are willing to risk more money and are thus a serious contender.

On page 2, the division of costs in section 4 are very noteworthy as well. It is common for the seller to pay any transfer fees from the city and county, HOA report fees, a natural hazard report, home warranty plan, and termite inspection. Generally, the buyer and the seller share the escrow and title fees. The buyer generally pays for any other inspection costs such as their home inspection.

The other very important things to note on the RPA is the loan contingency (page 2, section 3H), and the inspection contingency (section 14). The inspection contingency says how many days the buyer has to inspect the property. These contingencies dictate how long the buyer has to back out of purchasing the property. Of course, the fewer the days the better, but 17 days is customary.

It’s common for the buyer to request that the seller pay for a termite inspection and Section 1 termite work (current infestation or damage). Section 2 is normally paid by the buyer (items that COULD LEAD to wood damage). Here in San Diego, it’s not unusual for some work to be needed on a home. It’s also common for a buyer to request the seller pay for a 1-year home warranty plan. This averages around $400, depending on the property.

If you have any questions, or want any clarification on anything involving the purchase offer, I am of course here to help. And congratulations – you are well on your way to selling your home!

Click on the graphics below to view the bigger full size versions of these Residential Purchase Agreement pages. This covers the first two, and most critical pages of a buyer’s offer.

How to Read a Real Estate Purchase Offer for California


How to read a home purchase offer in California



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2 Responses to “Home Sellers-How To Read A Buyer’s Offer”

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  2. Avatar ig says:

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