By this point, you should have found a real estate agent, contacted a few lenders, and seen a few homes. If you have not made up your mind on a home yet, you should take your time and keep looking. But keep in mind that if you wait too long, you may end up in a bidding war with another buyer.
Making an offer on a home is a huge step. You will be taking on the responsibility of a mortgage, repairs, lawn care, and other chores that homeowners sometimes gripe too much about. While you should be cautious, you should also make a bid on a home that you really like within a week after seeing it. This will put your mind at ease so that you can think of all the other items you will have to get done before the closing.
What To Do Before Making An Offer
Before you make an offer on a home, you should do the following:
These suggestions will help you make the most informed decision possible when it comes to buying your first home.
Attend Open Houses
Attend as many open houses as you can in homes that are in the area where you want to live. This will give you the opportunity to see what is out there, the going price of homes in the area, and also give you a basis of comparison when looking at other homes.
Open houses are fun because you will be able to look into every area of the home without having to worry about the homeowners and real estate agents following you around. Many times, you may even find your new home this way.
Almost every weekend in most neighborhoods, there will be an open house. Stop by and see for yourself what the homes in the area look like and what you can get for your budget.
Find Out More About A Property
If you find a home that you might want to buy, you should find out everything you can about the property first before making an offer. Visit the county clerk’s office or land records office to see how much the current homeowners paid for their land and the value of their property. This will give you an idea of how much you should offer for the home. If the home is in an area that has seen better days, then you can make an offer that is less because when you sell the property some day, you may have to lower your price as well.
Find Out More About Taxes In The Area
As a homeowner, you will be paying yearly property taxes, local taxes, school taxes, community dues, and other taxes that could drive your household spending through the roof. Before you commit to living in a certain area, make sure you understand everything you will be paying each year.
Your real estate agent should have the neighborhood information that will help you decide where you want to move. You can also visit your local tax office and see how much the current homeowners paid in taxes last year.
When you visit a lender, you will have to figure in your taxes as household expenses. This will be deducted from you income, which will leave you with less each month to pay your mortgage. Just because you may have found a home that is within your budget, you may not be able to afford the taxes that come with it.
Have An Appraisal Done Before Making An Offer
Most first time home buyers do not have an appraisal done until their lender asks them for one. But you are well within your rights to ask for a home appraisal before making an offer. You will not have to share the findings with anyone until your lender asks to see the appraisal.
Even though this may stall the home buying process, you may want to have an appraisal done, especially if the home is older and in a neighborhood that has homes that are of different values. This could save you from making a mistake later on.