Most houses are staged with the homebuyer in mind. Everything looks beautiful from the walk up to the backroom closets and fresh flowers in the kitchen. It’s easy to get swept away with a first impression so it’s important to pull back the shades and take a deep look inside and out. A good home inspection will give you important details to consider, but sometimes a homebuyer can feel too emotionally invested by that point and it’s hard to negotiate. If you’ve been house hunting for a while then you’re probably on your way to making your first offer. With that in mind, here are 5 homebuyer tips to help you make that first offer with confidence.
Top 5 Homebuyer Tips
(Before You Make That Offer)
Homebuyer Tip #1: Explore the Neighborhood
We’ve all heard the mantra that location is one of most important aspects to consider when buying a home. Especially when it comes to resale value and building equity. When you find the house that meets your dream list it’s good to switch gears and think about daily life in your new home. Take time to notice the neighborhood and the activity surrounding the area. Are the neighboring homes well maintained and updated, does the neighborhood seem friendly? Listen for surrounding noise like freeways or nearby busy streets, or maybe it’s just too quiet for your taste. Is there ample parking for guests or family? Does the neighborhood have nearby access to the activities and lifestyle you enjoy? Is it close to work and good schools? Learning about the area before you make an offer on a new home will help once you’re ready to negotiate.
Homebuyer Tip #2: Check Plumbing & HVAC
Plumbing and HVAC repairs and upgrades can be costly which can set a new homeowner back financially. Check to verify the last time the heating and air conditioning were serviced and when the systems were originally installed. Will you need to replace or remove old ductwork or HVAC systems to create an energy efficient home? Find out how old the water heater is too, and be sure to check for leaks under sinks and appliances or evidence of leaks. You can even run the sinks and showers to note the water pressure. If there’s a fair amount of landscaping, ask about irrigation and drainage along with any systems that may be outdated or need upgrading. As the homebuyer you’ll be better prepared to make a fair offer with fewer surprises.
Homebuyer Tip #3: Preview Roofing & Siding
The exterior of your new home can have a lot of hidden costs that might not be obvious at first glance. Most open houses have great curb appeal and a welcoming aesthetic. Once you’re inside the house the last thing you’re probably thinking about is the roof. The roof and windows in particular are costly items to replace and they have a lifespan that may be near its end. Find out the age and condition of the roof, windows and siding. Ask for warranty information if installed within the past ten years. As the homebuyer you might want to upgrade for energy efficiency or even style, so it’s good to know your numbers when it’s time to make an offer.
Homebuyer Tip #4: Ask About Major Appliances
Major appliances are sometimes installed right before a new home goes on the market to increase appeal for potential homebuyers. Major appliances are another big expense if you decide to upgrade or replace. Find out if the major appliances are included with the sale of the home, along with any warranty information. For older appliances that might need to be replaced check to see how old they are and if there are any known issues.
Homebuyer Tip #5: Prepare for Home Inspection
As the homebuyer, once you and the seller mutually agree on a sales price, a formal home inspection will be scheduled. A professional home inspection will be done by a third party. The inspection is thorough, evaluating and checking all the features, systems, and structure of the home to provide a full report on their findings. If you’ve done your homework, you’ll have a good idea of what to expect as well as follow-up questions if needed. Sometimes the results uncover new information that can require new negotiations, especially if updates or repairs are required.
Whether this is your first home or your next, these 5 simple homebuyer tips will help you negotiate with confidence. If you’re house hunting, take steps now to get pre-approved and lock in your rate. For many of us, buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions we’ll ever make. We can help.