Making an Offer

Before the offer to purchase is created, it is very important that you have been pre-approved by a lender.

This is one of the best negotiating tools a buyer can have. It shows the seller that you are financially able to purchase the home. After you have found the right home, it is time to prepare the offer.

When you are buying a home, there are many problems that the seller is obligated to disclose. 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 three questions you may want to research and/or ask your REALTOR that can offer additional insight about the prospective home before you make a final decision.

1) Is this home priced properly? This question can, in some instances, help the buyer negotiate a better. Your REALTOR should be able to provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) of the home to help answer this question. A CMA compares the home you are interested in with similar homes that have sold recently, in that particular neighborhood. 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.

2) Has the seller had any problems with the home in the past? Pay careful attention to the Residential Property and Lead-Based Disclosure documents. It should reflect whether there have been problems with water intrusion or infestations of wood-boring insects. If so, was the leak corrected, or the insect infestation treated? However, even if the leak has been corrected or the insects treated, there may be damages that are not readily visible. You should notify your home inspector of these issues so that it can be determine if these items were properly addressed or repaired.

3) How are the public schools in the area? Because the value of a community is usually greatly influenced by the public schools in the area, I recommend that you look into gaining some insight about the qulaity of the area's schools. There are several on-line sites that provide high-quality information about the schools within the community in which you are interested. Your REALTOR will be able to direct you to several sites.

Knowing all you can about a prospective home and community, not only helps you decide if it's the home of your dreams, but what offer to make as well. Your real estate professional can help you get your key questions answered and give you advice on how to evaluate your findings.