What to Know Before Making an Offer on a Home

What to Know Before Making an Offer on a Home

A smart course of action before making an initial offer is to get to know the home of interest intimately. After all, you will be making one of your biggest commitments in your lifetime with the purchase of your new home. Remember, an offer is a starting point that, ideally will lead to a binding purchase contract. But, until both buyer and seller have agreed to all the terms, including a final price, each party has an opportunity to abandon of the deal.

It is best to learn as much as you possibly can about a property before you submit a written offer. It is in your best interest to ask numerous questions, starting with your realtor. Other questions you will need to scope out on your own through your due diligence. Home inspections can provide information about inquiries you may have about the structure of a home. Most answers will be straight forward while others will be based on your personal perceptions. The answers you receive will help determine whether you are ready to make that next step of signing an offer.

Forming an Opinion:

The process of choosing your perfect home starts with knowing your financial limitations and seeking out properties within your budget range. It is also important to have a well-defined list of “must haves” and “unacceptable” criteria that will impact your enthusiasm towards a property.

As you classify the various homes you view, consider the following:

Price: Depending on market conditions, the length of time a house is on the market might indicate a problem or a sign that the seller is ready to make a deal.

  • Is the asking price reasonable?
    • What are the prices of comparable properties?
    • How long has the property been on the market?
  • How many days has it been on the market?

Condition of the Property:

  • Does the price reflect the property’s condition?
  • Are you willing to make needed repairs?
  • If the property has been updated, are the changes and the quality acceptable?
  • Does the property appear clean, neat and well-kept?
  • Are the floor plan, size and features appropriate for your needs?
  • Revisit the home at different times of day if possible.

Assess the Value: When you drive around do you get a positive feeling about the quality of life in the area?

  • Are there parks and recreational areas?
  • Is the age of the area apparent?
  • What are your neighborhood 1st impressions?

Location, Amenities, Infrastructure: Visiting City Hall, County Offices or the Chamber of Commerce provides valuable insight about your potential neighborhood

  • Is there public transportation?
  • How is local traffic? How close are you to major freeways?
  • Are there convenient stores? Additional shopping?
  • Are medical facilities accessible?
  • Planned Developments or Zoning Changes expected?
  • Are taxes reasonable?

Know the Details: Learn important details about the home and its condition.

  • Know about the heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical systems.
  • Has the roof been repaired or the appliances replaced, and if so, when?
  • Will any warranties transfer to new owners?
  • Has a home inspection been completed and can you gain access to it?

The written offer is an exciting “next step” in the process of buying a home. But, it is the information you gained during the “getting to know you” phase that will remain with you long after you become an owner.