To communicate your interest in purchasing a home, your agent will present the listing agent with a written offer in the form of a Tennessee REALTORS® Purchase and Sale Agreement. It’s a standard document approved by our local real estate board that specifies all of the terms and conditions of the purchase. When the seller accepts an offer, it becomes a legal contract, called a Binding Agreement.

Discuss your offer strategy with your agent who will guide you through the offer details before it’s submitted to the seller.


After an offer is presented to the listing agent the seller will either accept, reject, or make a counteroffer. If necessary, any further negotiations will be made after a counteroffer is submitted.


If your offer states, “this offer is contingent upon (or subject to) a certain event,” you’re stating you will only complete the purchase if that event occurs. The following are some common contingencies contained in a purchase offer:

Financing Contingency: If financing the purchase, the contract will state that it is contingent on the home appraising for the contract price and financing is secured.

Inspection Contingency: It’s best to have the property professionally inspected. Once you have the results of the inspection, you can submit a list of repairs to the seller. The seller can either make those repairs or refuse and if an agreement can’t be made, the contract can be canceled. A satisfactory report by a home inspector within a certain time period after acceptance of the offer is an example. At this point, you may make repair requests.

Home Sales Contingency: The closing of your current home.


You’re in a stronger bargaining position if:

1. You’re an all-cash buyer or you’re already pre-qualified for a mortgage.

2. You don’t have a present house that has to be sold before you can afford to buy.

3. You’re able to offer a significant earnest money deposit.


Earnest is a deposit you give when making an offer on a house. A seller looks favorably on an offer accompanied by a deposit to show “good faith.” The buyer’s agent typically holds the deposit. It can become part of your down payment.

When you write an offer, be prepared to pay an earnest money deposit. Your agent will notify the listing agent that the earnest money has been received and deposited. This is to help to reassure the homeowner that your intention to purchase the property is sincere.