Litchfield County real estate information, local events and more.


Don't make your offer on the fly, using an offer to purchase or binder of sale in CT.

Don't make your offer on the fly, using an offer to purchase or binder of sale in CT. New Milford CT, Litchfield County and Fairfield County Real Estate Information.

Inspect your offer to purchase or binder of saleYou found the house of your dreams and are ready to make that all important offer. I have had many a phone call from a buyers agent with a verbal offer on my listings, which I kindly remind the agent that until I have it on paper I have nothing and neither does their client. Sit, read, re-read, check and re-check your offer with your agent. If there is a mistake on your offer it could be accepted as it is, and you may not be the wiser until you get to the closing table.

Connecticut is a real estate attorney state, which means that you will be using an attorney to close the deal. After it is signed by both parties it will go to the sellers attorney who will write up the contract and send it to the buyers attorney. Sometimes agents will use a "Binder of Sale". In this type of offer there is language that makes this the contract after a period of time. It could be 5 days, it may say 5 days with attorney review, it depends on which type of form your agent uses.

When I write up an offer to purchase I am very careful to write down what my clients expect, for instance, washer/dryer/dishwasher/refrigerator/stove/range hood/shed/all lighting fixtures/etc., as per <insert multiple listing number>. The reason I do this is to make sure the seller knows exactly what we are making the offer on and then to let the attorney know what we are expecting and what needs to go on the contract. (This does not include personal property, that should never be included on any offer to purchase or binder of sale.)

Real Estate New Milford CT Contract woesIf you are not careful you can get some pretty nasty surprises, this goes both ways, for both buyer and seller. The buyer may not get something they wanted, the seller may lose something they didn't want to include in the sale. It can be an item, or it can be a concession of some kind.

Particular case in point. The seller was offering to pay association fees for the first year for the buyer. Of course it did depend on the price, if they negotiated a lower price the seller could have stricken it from the offer to purchase or the binder of sale, the buyer could have agreed, they both initial and it is no longer something the seller will be doing for the buyer.

But what if... what if the buyers agent never put it on the offer or worse, on the binder of sale? Both parties sign, they all move to close. Now what? It is not a pretty picture for the buyer, that much I can tell you. It happend, I knew that it was left off, it was not a happy surprise for the buyer to learn of his loss because they didn't go over the forms with a fine tooth comb before signing.

Read and re-read your offer to purchase or binder of sale. Take the offer seriously, don't do it on the fly. I sit with my buyers for a long time to discuss the pros and cons, to go over the offer to purchase or binder of sale more than once. It takes time to prepare a good offer, not only to do the paperwork but to prepare yourself! I also sit with my sellers and go over everything on the offer or binder of sale. If they are not here physically I send them the offer and go over it item by item on the phone. I don't do it "on the fly".

Also note that within the state of CT there are areas which practice differently when it comes to making an offer. But after the offer is made, no matter how it is made, it will still go to an attorney. I practice mostly in the lower Litchfield, upper Fairfield county of CT, within these areas there are different customs.

Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County Real Estate

2017 President, Greater New Milford Board of Realtors

2017 Connecticut Magazine 5 Star Realtor


 Search homes for sale in Litchfield County, CT.


Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Litchfield County Regional Office,375 Danbury Rd, New Milford, CT 06776


© Andrea Swiedler 2009 - 2017

 Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. - Mark Twain

Comment balloon 35 commentsAndrea Swiedler • May 19 2010 12:59AM


Great post, Andrea!  Going over the terms of the contract before signing is crucial. 

Posted by Maria Morton, Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758 (Platinum Realty) almost 10 years ago

Andrea, so true. The devil is really in the details of the contract isn't it...

Helping you help others live their American dream...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Far too many agents believe that the MLS listing guarantees that items will convey.  NOT SO. 

This is a very important post.  Everyone should read it. 

Think they will????

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

I read this post without my coke bottle glasses. I think I got it? lol.

Writing the details down in the in Purchase Agreement is crucial. I always make sure the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed. Then I have the buyer READ it all. I'm like you, I sit down with them for a long time going over what is going to happen next, etc.

Posted by Jackie Connelly-Fornuff, "Moving at The Speed of YOU!" (Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY) almost 10 years ago

Though we do not have attorney review of contract I've seen more than one contract come in on a listing that is missing key components.  It is hard to know if it is inexperience or agents trying to put an offer together to quickly to meet a deadline.  Either way it could be costly if not found before the offer is ratified.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) almost 10 years ago


In most cases in GA, we have an "out." If a due diligence period is included in the contract, anything can be renegotiated ...price, terms, or mistakes. It adds a level of comfort.

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) almost 10 years ago

Maria, it sure is. Verbal means nothing, and read read read first.

Michael, the devil is always in the details, for sure.

Lenn, I don't know if the right people will read it, LOL. But I know how important it is to read read read and double check. "I meant to include it in the offer" doesn't mean a thing. Basicly what is guaranteed (and not always so) is the compensation amount to the buyers agent.

Jackie, and those attorneys can be brutal, to say the least. If you don't double and triple check, your clients could be really angry with you. They count on us.

Cindy, if the agent is not experienced there should be someone to review the offer or contract before submitting. Always, no questions asked.

Richard, we have a 5 day, with attorney review written on some of the forms, others are just 5 days, and yes they can renegotiate, but there is always the chance it won't be caught by the attorney. People assume because it is on the MLS sheet it will convey. Not true.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) almost 10 years ago

Andrea - this is one of the reasons I love ActiveRain -- to hear about the regional differences in our practices!  Pennsylvania is not a real estate attorney state (but New Jersey is). 

Our stand agreement of sale contract states:

All representations, claims, advertising, promotional activities, brochures or plans of any kind made by Seller, Brokers, their licensees, employees, officers or partners are not a part of this Agreement unless expressly incorporated or stated in this Agreement. This Agreement contains the whole agreement between Seller and Buyer, and there are no other terms, obligations, covenants, representations, statements or conditions, oral or otherwise, of any kind whatsoever concerning this sale. This Agreement will not be altered, amended, changed or modified except in writing executed by the parties.

I tell clients that this sections means, in a nutshell, that if it's not in the contract, it doesn't exist. 

Posted by Richard Strahm, Lansdale and North Penn Real Estate (American Foursquare Realty) almost 10 years ago

Richard, that is exactly what that means. In the recent situation of something important to the buyer being left out of the binder of sale, I never said a word. And why should I? I work for the seller. When the agent figured it out he knew it was too late. He expected me to fix it. I did discuss it with our attorney.

And the real kicker? The reason their attorney did not review it (probably would have missed it anyway) was because they didn't get an attorney in the timeline provided for in the binder of sale. It was well past the 5 days. Not not not my problem. Our attorney reviewed it right away.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) almost 10 years ago


This is crucial information. Some agents do not understand that the offer is a "legally-binding contract." You need to include everything that is going to be part of the transaction and cover all of your bases and contingencies. In Massachusetts, we have a two-part system - the offer, then purchase and sale. Since the purchase and sale is coming at a later time some people make the mistake of thinking that the offer is not a binding contract, but it is.


Posted by Claudette Millette, Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass (The Buyers' Counsel) almost 10 years ago

Claudette, it is so important. And sometimes what you don't say will cost you plenty. Or your clients. Each state is different in how they arrive at the closing, but the bottom line, if you didn't write it down, it may not exist.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) almost 10 years ago

It amazes me that something as gigantic as a real estate transaction would ever be promulgated by anything other than a detailed written offer. Too many things can go wrong. 

Posted by J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner (J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY) almost 10 years ago

Andrea, this just about says it all. Too many agents just gloss over the listing sheet and focus on the buyer essentials to the mortgage, etc. As our MLS system allows us to put in many appliances for instance, but not all of them show up on the listing report, putting everything in is important. Not all agents fill out the Inclusion/Exclusion sheets, which means we have to write in everything including the play-scape in the yard.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) almost 10 years ago

Andrea, this makes so much sense and the only way to do business! When it is all written down like that everyone's memory is the same! 

Posted by Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers, Our Family Wants To Help Your Family! (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 10 years ago

I received an offer the other day with a purchase offer contract that was full of blanks and holes! Our counter had to tie up an entire page of loose ends!  Exclusions, inspection timeframes, property condition discolsure, home warrenty, closing date, possession date, legal description.  As I was writing up the counter I couldn't help thinking that if I was that buyer's agent I would be SO ASHAMED to present that counter with all the other housekeeping items that I had neglected to specify in the purchase offer!

Posted by Janna Scharf, Coeur d'Alene Idaho Real Estate Expert (Keller Williams Realty Coeur d'Alene) almost 10 years ago

Andrea ... it is so important to go over and over a contract for every little detail!

Posted by Pippa Mac, The Woodlands TX Real Estate (Chevaux Group Realtor, The Woodlands and Spring) almost 10 years ago

J Philip, amazing but true! What can I say.

Ed, and then when it comes time to close and the buyers find something they thought was going to convey didn't, you will be sitting with egg on your face.

Hi Al & Peggy, memory is a tricky thing, and perception can vary. In writing it cannot.

Janna, ouch! And did the buyers agent trust that you would not pull the blanket on your side or something? I'm just sayin....

Pippa, it is very very important. I hate to look like a fool... or incompetent, never mind not doing a job for my clients...

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) almost 10 years ago

Andrea, great post. Good advice no matter what state and who handles the closing.

Posted by Ted Tyndall, I will help You find the Home YOU want to Buy (Davidson Realty Inc.) almost 10 years ago

nice reminder of our responsibilities as agents

Posted by Vince McEveety (Gilleran Griffin Realty) almost 10 years ago

Yes going over the contract before siging is the "way to do it" as well as professional. THis will a good reminder I think.

Patricia/ Seacoast NH

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) almost 10 years ago

Great reminder.  Thanks for the good post.


Posted by Tom Ramsey (Century 21 Northland) almost 10 years ago


Always a good idea to know what you are signing....

I had a friend whose agent MADE them accept a verbal offer and follow through with it even though they had three offers of more money with better terms...  And the verbal one was not presented or signed.  UGH!

Ann Hayden in Wildwood, MO

Posted by Ann Hayden 636-399-7544, (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties-St. Louis Missouri) almost 10 years ago

The offer to purchase is a legally binding contract. If it's not in the offer, it's not part of the deal. It's that simple.

I love your response to verbal offers Andrea. While it's ok to negotiate them verbally, until they're on paper and executed, it's not a contract.

Posted by Craig Rutman, Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor (Helping people in transition) almost 10 years ago

Andrea, great advice, especially for new agents.

Posted by Rita Fong, Realtor - Marion Arkansas Homes for Sale (RE/MAX REAL ESTATE TODAY, Executive Broker 901-488-9590 ) almost 10 years ago

Andrea - crucial information and everyone should read this!  I re-read every offer before delivering it to the parties involved.  In Wisconsin - the contract is considered what the buyer and seller's intent was.... in a nutshell, if something is left off it's better to address it, the buyer would have an out later-and noone wants that!

Posted by April Hayden-Munson, Brookfield Wisconsin Real Estate almost 10 years ago

I see too many people who feel that an offer can be made in a completely casual manor. Those things are legally binding you know.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) almost 10 years ago

Ted, I think, of course, this post is preaching to the choir as far as the members on AR, but for the general public, they have to make sure they keep an eye on this.

Vince, sometimes buyers make it hard to do, they don't take it seriously. But it is a very serious part of the whole process!

Patricia, I certainly hope that people will understand!

Tom, thank you for stopping by!

Ann, how in the world do things like that happen. If I get a verbal, oh.. isn't that nice. But it means NOTHING.

Craig, here it would be a slim chance, but still a chance. If you want to withdraw, it must be agreed to in writing before it is withdrawn. Not just a phone call that says.. nah, we decided not to go ahead with the offer to purchase. It could get dicey. Verbal is nothing!

Rita, I wonder why more new agents don't get the supervision they need.

April, so important to check and recheck. Someone can really lose out.

Erica, it is so different everywhere, isn't that odd? It could be so hard to move to another state where they do things differently.

JL, I see that here too. Funny thing, the higher price tag on the home, the more sophisticated the buyer and seller the more casual it is. I don't get it!

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) almost 10 years ago

Andrea, excellent policy to follow.  The purchase of a house is the largerest purchase that most people make in their life time, every precaution needs to be taken, and it needs to be in writing.

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) almost 10 years ago

George, I am always amazed at how some take it so casually, it makes no sense to me.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) almost 10 years ago

This is important information that people should consider carefully as thye are making and accepting offers.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) almost 10 years ago


Excellent points hete. Our contract specifcally states that items included, or excluded, on the MLS, marketing materials or flyers are not included or excluded in teh sale unless pecifcally staed in the contract. I ALWASY put in what the buyer wants or doesn't want. THe problem with REOs and is left behind you get stuck with.  I have yet to have one where the home is cleaed out as requested.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) almost 10 years ago

Andrea, I don't know either.  I think it goes both way, either the broker doesn't coach them well, or the new agent doesn't want to look like they don't know anything.  But when I first became an agent, I don't care I asked the dumbest question, I didn't know, I asked, real estate mistakes are costly if not careful.  I sure can't afford it.

Posted by Rita Fong, Realtor - Marion Arkansas Homes for Sale (RE/MAX REAL ESTATE TODAY, Executive Broker 901-488-9590 ) almost 10 years ago

It's not binding in OH until all parties have been signed and it's been delivered.

Posted by Chris Olsen, Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate (Olsen Ziegler Realty) almost 10 years ago

A buyer wanting to buy, find a bottom line with just a phone call left out all the other details like possesion date, size of deposit, contingencies so when the seller asks you the broker who have a snippet about the buyer, you know squat. You need to gather information on the buyer, the sale just like the leg work done with the listing, imagery, video, marketing.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) almost 10 years ago

Great Post Andrea and I am so sorry I missed this one!

VB ;-)

Posted by Robert Vegas Bob Swetz almost 10 years ago