Making an Offer

After you have found the right home, it’s time to prepare the offer.

However, should the seller choose to accept your offer, they are obligated to disclose any known issues with the property during the time they owned the home. For example, in most states, it is illegal to withhold information about major physical defects on the property, but these disclosures don't always paint the entire picture of the home.

Here are six questions you may want to ask that can offer additional insight about the prospective home before you make a final decision.

  1. Why is the seller selling the house? This question may help you evaluate the "real value" of the property. Is there something about the house the seller does not like? If so, you may be able to adjust the purchase offer accordingly.
  2. How much did the seller pay for the home? This question can, in some instances, help the buyer negotiate a better deal – maybe even get the seller to carry part of the loan. However, it is important to remember that the purchase price is influenced by several factors, like the current market value and any improvements the seller may have made to the home. The original purchase price might not have anything to do with the current value of the house.
  3. What does the seller like most and least about the property? In a few cases, what a seller likes the most about a home might be something the buyer is looking to avoid. For example, if the seller describes his house as being in a "happening community," the buyer might consider this a negative factor because the area may be too noisy or busy for his or her taste.
  4. Has the seller had any problems with the home in the past? It is also a good idea to ask the seller if he or she has had any problems with the home while living there. Has the seller had problems with a leakage from the upstairs bedroom in the past? If so, even if the leak has been corrected, the floor and walls around the bathroom might have been damaged. You should also check that these items were repaired properly.
  5. Are there any nuisances or problem neighbors? Use this answer to find out about any noisy neighbors, barking dogs, heavy airplane traffic, or even planned changes to the community, such as a planned street widening. This may give some insight on why the seller is really moving.
  6. How are the public schools in the area? The quality and reputation of a school district can have a significant effect on the property values of nearby homes.

Knowing all you can about a prospective home will help you when it comes time to make an offer. Hiring a real estate professional who can answer any additional questions you may have and give you advice on how to evaluate your findings will ensure that you get the best possible deal on your new home.