Once you’ve chosen the home you want to buy, the first step in the purchase process is to sign a contract. This contract is legally binding should all of its conditions be met. That means that the seller has to sell the house to you … and you have to buy it.
Among other things, the contract lays out the purchase price, states who is paying closing costs, and identifies any contingencies that might allow either party to walk away from the sale. These contingencies can include the results of a home inspection or the buyer’s ability to secure financing.
After the contract is signed, the seller cannot enter into a contract on the house with another buyer, and if all of the conditions of the contract are met, the buyer is obligated to buy.