The following is a step-by-step summary of the typical business purchasing process:
- Initial Meeting: At our initial meeting, we work with you to see how we can best meet your needs in terms of business type, location, amount of investment you wish to make, etc. Since our business listings almost always are of a confidential nature, we will ask you to sign a Confidentiality Agreement during this initial meeting to allow us to share pertinent Seller information with you. It is also customary, at this time, to request a financial statement from you as proof of ability to purchase the businesses presented to you. All of this information is held in absolute confidence.
- Additional Meetings and Showings: We will discuss with you (and any business partners or your spouse) businesses that fit your interests and investment potential.
- Making an Offer: When you find the business that fits, we help you make a written offer to purchase. This offer will be accompanied by an initial deposit check of $1000 or more as an earnest money deposit. This will open negotiations.This offer will normally have one or more contingencies to the offer. A primary one is to review detailed financials to insure they have been accurately represented in the marketing package to your satisfaction. Of course, there may also be other contingencies such as acceptance by a franchisor, review of lease, buyer’s loan approval, etc.
- Counter-Offers and Acceptance: The seller will either accept, counter your initial offer, or occasionally reject your offer. Normally, there will be a counter-offer, usually through written and initialed changes to your original offer. With a counter-offer, you can either accept by initialing their changes or make another counter-offer. Upon final agreement and acceptance, a second check is required from you to take the business off the market while contingencies are removed. This second deposit check is the balance of 10% of the agreed upon price. These checks are held in a registered escrow trust account at Sunbelt and are credited towards the purchase price at closing. If all contingencies are not met, you have the option of either renegotiating the offer or having the deposit money refunded in full.
- Contingency Removal: At this step, you and your accountant, if desired, will review actual seller financial records, leases, etc. Also, at this stage, you will meet with the seller to discuss particular aspects of the business if necessary. If the seller is providing financing, they will also want to meet you. Franchisors, if applicable, will also have to approve your qualifications. Once all conditions of the sale have been met, contingencies will be removed and signed off.
- Authorization to Close: This will define the closing process. The draft Definitive Purchase Agreement and auxiliary documents will be prepared by the closing attorney, in advance of Closing, for review by the Buyer and Seller and their respective legal advisors. Any editing, if necessary, will be sent to the Closing attorney to be added to the documents and will again be reviewed by all parties. When both the Buyer and Seller have reviewed and accepted the final draft of the documents, the final signature copies will be prepared and a time and date agreeable to all will be set for the Closing.
- Closing: Closing will normally take place in the Closing Attorney’s office with both you and the seller present, along with the Sunbelt representative. The attorney will normally coordinate the transfer.