Mortgages & Home Loans Real Estate Resources What Can Go Wrong After a Homebuyer's Offer Is Accepted? The process is just getting started when your offer is accepted By Elizabeth Weintraub Elizabeth Weintraub Facebook Twitter Elizabeth Weintraub is a nationally recognized expert in real estate, titles, and escrow. She is a licensed Realtor and broker with more than 40 years of experience in titles and escrow. Her expertise has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, CBS Evening News, and HGTV's House Hunters. learn about our editorial policies Updated on May 13, 2022 Reviewed by Doretha Clemon Reviewed by Doretha Clemon Doretha Clemons, Ph.D., MBA, PMP, has been a corporate IT executive and professor for 34 years. She is an adjunct professor at Connecticut State Colleges & Universities, Maryville University, and Indiana Wesleyan University. She is a Real Estate Investor and principal at Bruised Reed Housing Real Estate Trust, and a State of Connecticut Home Improvement License holder. learn about our financial review board In This Article View All In This Article What Can Go Wrong? What You Can Do Major Defects Your Financing Falls Through The Appraisal Is Off Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Photo: The Balance / Ellen Lindner It can take up to 50 days, or sometimes even longer, to close on your new home after your purchase offer is accepted. At first, you're just hoping for good news. You're not thinking ahead to everything that's got to happen in the next one to two months if the closing is going to happen. You just want to get over this first hurdle of having your offer accepted. Go ahead and pop the chilled champagne when you receive word that your offer is a go, but you're not quite there yet. Your home buying process is just getting started. What Can Go Wrong? You might have to arrange for a home inspection and other types of inspections as well, and the results must be satisfactory. Your lender will order an appraisal, and the home's value must be equal to or exceed the sales price. This will happen before the lender starts processing the loan. These are just a few of the things that can morph into renegotiation or adjustments to your transaction. You might even end up canceling the sale and not buying the home at all. Note You might think that you only need a real estate agent to help with the initial negotiations, but challenges often pop up on the way to closing that will require the finesse of a professional. You might not even notice what your agent is doing behind the scenes or how your agent is helping you. What You Can Do As the Buyer Buyers can help to make the process smoother. Whatever you do now, don't change your finances. Do not buy a car. Don't make any major purchases. Don't add additional debt to your credit cards and, above all, do not quit your job. It's important not to alter your financial situation in any way during this time, unless it's to maintain or improve it, such as by continuing to make timely payments on your credit cards and loans. Derogatory changes can result in you ultimately being turned down for a mortgage. Hang tight for a month or two and focus on closing your transaction. If You Discover Major Defects Be prepared to walk away from the home if you discover major defects with the property that can't be satisfactorily addressed. You won't know what might be wrong with the property until you hire a professional home inspector. Talk to your real estate agent about the types of repairs—if any—the seller might agree to complete. Most homes are sold in "as is" condition, and sellers aren't always required to make any repairs at all. Are you prepared to foot the bill for fixes? If Your Financing Falls Through You might have to walk away as if you can't obtain the type of financing you thought you were qualified for, and the new loan terms are unacceptable to you. It doesn't necessarily mean that you're qualified to buy the home just because you have a preapproval letter from a lender. An underwriter has the final say about your qualifications—and this happens after you've been preapproved. The "pre" is included in that term for a reason. Your lender might have made a mistake by initially relying on verbal information that the underwriter can't verify. Or maybe you did change your financial situation in some respect. All this can result in you being offered a different loan with different terms than the one you were expecting, or not be approved at all. Be honest with yourself about whether you can reasonably handle any changes to your loan, such as an increased interest rate from the one you thought you were getting. Note You might not know if your loan will be approved until just days before you're ready to close. If Your Appraisal Is Off You might not end up buying the property if your appraisal isn't high enough to justify the sales price the seller has accepted. There's no guarantee that the seller will agree to a lower sales price just because the appraisal is off. You can pay the difference in cash, but you might not want to do this, and some sellers might prefer not to sell under these circumstances. Not every seller will be agreeable to working with you after a low appraisal. The Bottom Line In 2017, a Trulia report found that less than 4% of all home sales fell through before closing, so the odds are actually in your favor that you'll make it all the way to the settlement table. Just keep in mind that a number of things can go wrong in the months that pass between offer acceptance and closing. There might be an issue with the property's title, or you might not be able to sell your existing home first. You can hope for the best but expect anything. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) When will I know if my offer was accepted? That depends on when your real estate agent set as the deadline for response in your written offer, but typically this could be 24 to 48 hours. Can I back out of an offer even if it has been accepted? Yes, it's pretty easy to back out at the point where an offer has been accepted but you haven't yet signed a purchase contract or sent money to the escrow company for a deposit. You can still back out if you've signed the contract and deposited money, but it's more complicated to do so. Can the sellers accept a better offer after they have accepted mine? If they have not signed the contract, they can't take more money for the house and cancel your contract without repercussions, which could include you suing them. If they have verbally accepted your offer but then get a better one, they can withdraw their verbal acceptance and go into a contract with the higher offer. If they have signed an acceptance letter, it becomes more difficult to back out, but easier than if they have signed a contract. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. EllieMae. "Average Time to Close a Loan Increased to 50 Days According to Latest Origination Insight Report." Rocket Mortgage. "Home Appraisal: How It Affects Selling Price and Mortgage Amount." Quicken Loans. "15 First Time Home Buyer Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)." Rocket Mortgage. "What It Means to Buy a House Sold As-Is." Satori Mortgage. "Pre-Approval Letter vs. Underwritten Pre-Approval." Trulia. "How a Home Appraisal Works." Trulia. "Sale Fail: Signed, Sealed and Then, No Deal."