On Long Island, the sale contracts are written by attorneys. The Agent writes a binder and uses that to negotiate the sale price. After the price has been agreed upon, the buyer will send in a home inspector. The home should be free of leaks and infestation, All appliances are to be in working order, along with the plumbing, heating, and electrical systems. After the inspection the buyer decides if they are going forward with the transaction. If so, the binder is sent to the both attorneys' office, where the seller's attorney writes up the contracts and sends it to the buyers attorney. The buyer will go to his own attorney to sign the contract and leave the earnest money deposit. On a starter home, the amount is usually $5000 to $10,000. A move-up home would be more.
The appliances normally included in the sale are the refrigerator, stove, washer and dryer, and any built-in units such as dishwashers, microwave ovens, wine-refrigerators, etc. Freezers are optional. Quite often the homeowner will leave it so they don't have to move it.
From contract to close is normally 60-90 days.