Writing the offer
In Arizona, verbal offers on real estate mean nothing. All offers to purchase a home need to be in writing. Arizona REALTORS use a pre-printed purchase contract form that has been approved by the Arizona Department of Real Estate. While additional terms and conditions can be added to it, the purchase contract has been designed to protect both the buyer and the seller from unfavorable legal exposure. Ask your REALTOR for a sample of the purchase contract.
There may be additional documents that are incorporated with the Purchase Contract, depending of the property, and any unique circumstances.
When you are ready to present an offer on a home in Arizona, you will complete the purchase contract with your buyers representative. Until the contract is accepted by the seller, it is considered to be an “offer”. Along with the offer you will give your buyers agent a personal check that demonstrates to the seller that you are serious about your offer. The check is referred to as “earnest money” and it typically 1% of the purchase price being offered, although more is better.
The check will be made payable to an escrow company or title company of your choice. The check will not be cashed unless your offer is accepted by the seller. The check will be applied towards your down payment. Your buyers agent will explain this in more detail/After all documents pertaining to the written offer are complete, your agent will present the offer to the listing agent. While the agent will attempt to present the offer personally, in this age of technology it is most common for the buyers agent to fax the purchase offer and all pertaining documents (including a carefully written "Pro Buyer" cover page) to the listing agent. The listing agent will then present the offer to the seller.
All negotiations between the buyer and seller are strictly done through the buyers agent and listing agent - much like the function of a lawyer in legal matters (although most REALTORs are not lawyers ).