Making an Offer

Before the offer to purchase is created, it is very important that you have been at least pre-qualified or better yet pre-approved by a local 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 items 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 some 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) 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 bathroom 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.

3) 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 you insight on why the seller is really moving.

4) 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, finding out the buyer's perception can give you some insight about the quality of the area's schools.

Knowing all you can about a prospective home, 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.