You already know that putting an offer on a home is a big decision, but do you know exactly what to ask before you make an offer? Here are the top 5 questions to ask your real estate broker when making an offer on a home.
1. Is the asking price in line with similar homes in the area?
It’s important to have an idea of how much other homes in the area are selling for. That’s because most real estate experts actually look at the value of nearby homes when estimating a home’s price. Of course, no two homes are alike—even if they’re only blocks apart—so prices will vary depending on unique differences, such as a water view or modern appliances. You don’t need your broker to be precise, but simply having a ballpark figure can help you determine if there’s any wiggle room in your offer.
2. How much will I have to spend to get it just the way I want it?
Are you happy with the way the home is right now, or do you see some walls you’d love to knock down? You may want to decide if you’d be okay with just moving in without touching a power tool (or hiring a trusted handyman or home professional), or if there are some renovations or modifications you’d have to make before your new home feels like, well, home.
3. When was the last home inspection?
Aside from cosmetic updates and renovations, you’ll want to make sure the property you’re making an offer on doesn’t have any costly hidden surprises. Plumbing, roofing and electrical fixes, for example, can cost you tens of thousands or more, so you’ll need to know that everything is in top-top shape before you make a move—or move in! Although a home inspection will set you back a couple of hundred dollars, it will save you lots more down the line—not to mention a headache. Your real estate broker can help you set up a home inspection with a qualified, reputable professional. A home inspection can also be used as a contingency, which lets you back out of your offer without any penalty if the inspection exposes certain defects.
4. How long has the home been on the market?
If a home has been on the market for a long time, it could mean there’s a potential issue with the property, in which case a home inspection would be a good idea. Or perhaps the seller hasn’t been willing to budge on the asking price—until now, when he or she might be eager to accept a lower-than-usual offer. While you shouldn’t be turned off if a home has been on the market for a while, it’s good to do your homework and ask your real estate broker for some details.
5. How much of a mortgage will be required?
Before you make an offer, you should ask yourself if you can truly afford the mortgage you’re committing yourself to. According to a 2019 survey by CoreLogic, one-third of homebuyers reported spending more than they expected to on their home. So, before you settle on making an offer, it’s totally ok to speak with a mortgage professional and ask: “What’s the mortgage again?”
Aside from these top questions, when making an offer on a home you’ll also want to ask yourself: “How much do I really want this home?” All things considered—and making sure you covered all your bases and have done your research—the closer your offer is to the asking price, the more likely it will be accepted.