Purchasing or selling a property is a process. Here is what to know before you jump into escrow.
You made it through the high stress counter offers and nail-biting negotiations - time to relax? Not so much. However, congratulations are in order, because you have the property locked up! The first round of negotiations is getting on the same page with the seller with an accepted offer. Once that is done, you can take a deep breath, and know that you are going to get inundated with paperwork and information- brace yourself. If you know this is coming, it's not as much of a shock. It is also good to know that going into a purchase, you made your offer based on the information you have at hand. If there are inspections/reports on file, typically those are handled as disclosures and taken into account with your initial offer. If there is limited information going in, you are relying on what you can see during a showing or what the listing agent discloses. The second round of negotiations comes into play after you have completed thorough home inspections, looked through the title report, seller disclosures, area disclosures, etc. For example, let's say the house is nicely updated and you make a full priced offer. Then through inspections, you find out that a new roof is needed and the electrical has safety issues. The good news is that you have a few options. You can negotiate an equitable credit, or have the seller handle repairs. A buyer's investigation during escrow is meant to protect the buyers and make sure they understand the condition and specifics of the property prior to releasing contingencies to move forward with the purchase.
Sellers: It's important to know that buyers have the right to investigate thoroughly in escrow and any reports/inspections that they complete, will become a disclosure for the property if they don't move forward. If you are aware that your property has deferred maintenance or if your home is older, doing a pest inspection and a home inspection up front can be worth their weight in gold. That way, those inspections become an initial disclosure that the buyer takes into account with their original offer. The buyer's won't have nearly as much to negotiate if they have that information up front.
Either way, make sure you have an agent that understands the process, is an advocate on your behalf and in your corner.