10 Vital Steps to Take Before You Make an Offer on Your Dream Home
Buying a house is one of the most important financial decisions of your life. You need to make the right decision, which is favorable for both you and your family. Here are 10 key steps you should follow in order to ensure that your home buying process goes smoothly, and you get the ‘perfect’ home for your needs.
- Do a Thorough Research of the Local Area
Your first step should be to perform an exhaustive research of the local area. This involves more than just commuting or driving around the area. You need to know about your surroundings as they have a major impact on the quality of your life in long-term.
It is marvelous to meet your neighbors and look into the schools, municipal governance, and tax rates. You also need to consider the nearest hospitals, grocery stores, crime rate, libraries, and additional community factors. Remember that you are not just committing to the house but to the area.
- Perform Detailed Walk-Throughs
A comprehensive walk-through is essential for a house that you are willing to buy. It is vital that you walk through the house at least twice to check out the property in a detailed manner. It is even better if you can bring a companion with you to get a fresh or divergent view of the same property. Take one last look before making the final offer to ensure that you have not missed any critical aspect of the house.
- Make at least a Few Visits to the Area
Visiting and checking the house or property just once will not suffice. It is advisable to tour the area a number of times. You need to visit the property on different days at different times to find out how commute times and traffic conditions vary at different junctures. Visiting only on the weekends would not give you a real picture of the traffic conditions during peak working hours.
- Assess the Utility Costs
Making the final offer commits you to pay monthly costs other than just the mortgage payments. Request the home seller to give you an estimate of the monthly utility costs in order to have a rough idea about the expenses on top of the mortgage payout. It is critical to obtain details about seemingly minor but important elements such as phone, cable and Internet connections, trash collection, and wastewater disposal.
- Arrange and Finalize Competitive Financing
You need to arrange the required financing to buy the house by consulting a bank if you are not making an all-cash offer. Try finding the most competitive interest rate and ensure to maintain a suitable credit score to be able to pay the monthly mortgage. Get pre-approved for credit to know the amount that the bank will provide you before even starting house hunting.
- Familiarize Yourself with the Neighbors
As mentioned earlier, it is advisable to introduce yourself to your neighbors. Having bad neighbors is the last item on your wish list when you are about to shift to a new house and a new area altogether. Talk to the neighbors and decide if they are the kind of people that you would want as your neighbors before finalizing the offer.
However, what is even more crucial is that those people can act a source of useful insights on the area and possibly your potential new home. They can tell you about any changes that might have happened in the area or on your property in the recent years. Getting opinions from people already living in the area is a salient way to ensure that you are going in the right direction.
- Carefully Check the Seller’s Disclosure
In numerous transactions, the seller provides a “seller’s disclosure” to serious customers. The seller’s disclosure lists all maintenance issues, improvements, and upgrades that happened on the property during the time of the seller’s ownership.
This provides the customer a realistic idea of the already happened improvements and future needed improvements once the customer is the homeowner. It is good if you have an agent to represent you to help ensure the accuracy of the disclosure and help you understand the laws concerning the seller’s disclosure.
- Organize an Inspection by a Professional
It is a smart decision to have a walk-through of the house yourself. However, it is extremely beneficial if you hire a professional to conduct a detailed inspection of the property. Professional inspections cost almost $300-500, but they provide you a relief and assurance that you are not going to find any lurking or unforeseen issues in the near future.
- Make Sure You have a Backup Plan
Making an offer for a house that you like is exciting because the property has enamored you and you are all set to close the deal. However, make sure that you do not make haste to finalize a deal. Even if you have fallen in love with the first home you have seen, don’t make an offer yet (unless you feel it is about to be taken and the price that is being offered is enticing – but there could be a reason why the price is so attractive so you need to do your due diligence accordingly).
You should do research on more properties and increase options available to you. Before closing the deal, always make sure that you have a backup plan. Having a backup plan ensures that you are not short of options even if your first few deals have not been successful.
- Hire an Attorney
Purchasing a property is always complex. An expert’s assistance is essential to go through such a process. A lawyer’s assistance in understanding the process and getting the best terms for the property can come in handy. In addition, a lawyer can help you with contracts and necessary paperwork to finalize the deal. Consulting a legal professional can provide you more relief even if you already have a realtor.
Though you may not have to do this. It just depends if you believe you need to but most people who buy a home don’t have to involve a legal counselor.
Making an offer on a house is an important step in the process of buying a property. However, you should not rush through it.
Devoting time and paying attention to all the necessary details will help you make the right decision, save you a significant amount of money, and mitigate any risk of disappointment or stress in the long run. So go ahead and perform your due diligence using these 10 tips to close the best possible deal for your dream home.