You’ve found it–your family’s perfect home. It meets all your specifications and then some. Or does it? Before you make an offer on a house, take your emotions out of the decision for a moment. Ask yourself and your real estate agent these three important questions to make sure this is the right house for you and that you’re getting the best deal possible.
1. What needs to be fixed?
Conduct your own informal home inspection before you make an offer. Some problems could cost you a lot of money in the future. Does the roof need any work? Are carpets and hardwood floors in good shape? How about large trees–are they healthy? Does the house still have its original water heater? Has the house been inspected for mold recently? If you’re not comfortable checking for these things yourself, have a knowledgeable friend or family member come with you on a walk-through. Always have a professional home inspection done before the sale is finalized.
2. What is the neighborhood like?
If you see a potential neighbor outside your dream home, don’t hesitate to ask if they can answer a few questions. Ask if they like living in the neighborhood and if it’s a quiet street. Also, ask if there’s anything you should know before making an offer. If you’re upbeat and friendly, people are often willing to disclose a wealth of information. Other information can be found on the Internet, such as school report cards and crime rate. Try to visit the house at different times of day, as well as weekends and weekdays. Weekday noise and traffic may be much different than it is on Sunday, the most common day for open houses.
3. Is there any wiggle room on price?
There are many factors to consider when deciding how much money to offer. For instance, how long has the house been on the market? You may be able to make an offer below the asking price if it’s been on the market more than 90 days. Also, look at the comps–similar houses in the neighborhood that have sold. Does the house you’re interested in fit within the prices paid? If it’s more expensive, consider starting with a lower offer. However, make sure you are open to negotiating with the sellers.
Buying a home is the biggest investment most people will make. It is important to be certain before putting in an offer so you don’t regret it later. If these questions have been answered satisfactorily, congratulations! You’re ready to put an offer in on your dream home.