Are You Really Ready to Make an Offer
If you have all your ducks in a row when it comes to financing, such as a preapproved loan and adequate funds for closing costs that doesn't mean you're necessarily ready to make an offer unless you've done some other research. Too often people find what they believe is the home of their dreams, only to discover later it was a nightmare house at worst or they could have gotten more house for their money by doing a little research. Before you make that offer, do these things first.
1 Research the buying market and the house you want to purchase.
If houses are selling quickly, then it's a seller's market, where only the best possible offers are considered. However, if you find the area is a buyer's market, a market, you could save money by offering less, requesting financing help or negotiating closing costs. Look at comparables in the area you want. Do the legwork to check out these homes. You might find a better deal that is more suitable to your needs.
2 Check the number of days it's been on the market.
When you're looking at a home that's been for sale for months, the sellers are often ready to negotiate a lower price. You have far more leverage for other requests, such as trading off closing costs.
3 Time the drive to work.
This one is tricky and may involve using a day off to get the real feel for the commute. If you've only experienced the amount of traffic on weekends, you might be surprised how busy it is during the week or at peak commuting times. If your driveway goes out to a busy street, it also could take considerable time just leaving the house in the morning.
4 Use that day off from work to check the neighborhood at all times of the day.
Walking around the neighborhood on Saturday or Sunday morning won't give you the real feel for what you can expect if you live there. A rowdy group of neighbors are often up all night and sleep in quite late in the morning. Drive through on a Friday night. Better yet, check the police blotters or local law enforcement agency to find out just how many calls they make to the area and the reasons they make them.
5 Hire a friendly home remodeler for a day.
If you know a contractor, hire them for a few hours. Even if they're a friend, make sure they get compensated for the time they spend with you. If they won't accept cash, a gift card is always appreciated. Narrow your search to several properties of interest and take them along to show you things you might not think of when looking at a home. An unbiased opinion is always a benefit.
6 Ask a family member to see it before you make the offer.
Look for the most pessimistic, outspoken, fault-finding but knowledgeable family member, not sweet Aunt Adele who could only say positive things even if she were evaluating the Devil himself. You may not want to hear everything your family member has to say, but it is food for thought and often you'll hear something that will make you want to investigate further.