If you offer to buy a house and the seller accepts, you've got a deal—and it's binding.
Make sure your offer gives you a way out by including a home inspection or financing contingency. If you find a serious structural problem or can't get a mortgage, you'll be able to walk away without legal consequences.
Most sellers want you to make an earnest money deposit. When the seller accepts your offer, your deposit is held by a third party—an escrow or title company—until the day the sale is final (your closing).
Be prepared to make a counter-offer if the seller rejects your first bid. Know your limits and stick to them.
Consumer Action's Housing Information Project created this brochure in partnership with Capital One Services, Inc. © 2007 Consumer Action. Rights Reserved.