Buying a new home is a decision that can’t be compared to any other in life. Certainly, it’s not like any other financial choice. Sure, you can look around a home before buying, but you can test-drive a car. Just try asking the vendor of a prospective home if you can sleep there for a night before making an offer. If they say yes, that’s probably more troubling than a hard “no.”
It means that you inevitably have to make a decision without knowing everything for sure. The first night you sleep there, you may hear neighbors bicker, or the kitchen making a lot of those undetectable noises. All you can do is say to yourself: “Well, for what I paid for it, I’ll deal with that.” As long as it was a good deal, of course.
That’s why it’s important to make sure you go into a purchase armed with every bit of knowledge you can. Only then can you know if you’re getting a good deal. And remember some of the dos and don’ts of getting the best one possible.
DO Get Your Financials Ironed Out Before Making An Offer
There are a lot more legal details involved in buying a home than there used to be. Some realtors with homes for sale will not even entertain an offer until you’ve got a mortgage guarantee in writing. If you can’t show them that, your offer will be less persuasive. If you keep them and the vendor waiting, there may be less negotiating room.
DON’T Fight Too Hard Over Four Figures
Unless you’re a cash buyer – and at these prices, only the very wealthy can be – you’ll be paying for a home over the course of decades. If the sellers are looking for $165,000 and you’re set on getting it for $160,000, don’t walk away over that small a difference.
Over the course of a mortgage, you may be talking about as little as $20 a month. If you loved it the moment you went to the open house, that’s $20 you can swallow.
DO Find Out Why The Seller Is Moving
This isn’t a trick to find out if the house is defective. Surveys will settle that issue. Anyway, it’s not like that question will make them blurt out “Yeah, sorry! The attic is full of bats!”. What it may do, though, is inform your negotiation.
If they are getting divorced, they’ll want a quick sale and may be willing to move. If they’re just looking to move on but don’t have something lined up, it may drag on more.
DON’T Assume You Hold All The Cards
If someone is selling their house, it’s safe to assume they have motivation to do so. It’s not safe to assume that means they’ll hang around while you make low-ball offers and insist on changes before you close. This is not a buyer’s market right now. If you love the house, make a realistic first offer. You might not get the chance to make a second.