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A photo of young couple standing arms around at entrance. Full length rear view of couple are in casuals. Satisfied loving man and woman spending quality time together at home.

Once you find that seemingly perfect home that leaves you feeling like love at first sight, you might want to consider taking a second glance, or even five. We’ve talked about things we wish we’d known before we moved, but there are also some details you might want to find out before you put in an offer.

On the surface, they might not seem like a big deal to first-time home buyers, but considering these five tips might save you some regret down line.

Meet the Neighbors

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Someone with five vocal Saint Bernards? A disagreeable grump with a loud truck who works midnights? A conspiracy theorist who practices his ninja throwing stars while feeding whole pot pies to a possum? All of the above? Whomever it is, you better find out. Living next to, or on the same block as, someone you can’t stand can ruin your home sweet home. So introduce yourself to a couple of the neighbors and ask them if there’s anything to watch out for on the block.

Roam the Neighborhood

Make sure to spend some quality time in the neighborhood you’re considering relocating to. Visiting or just driving by at various times of the day will give you a good idea if it’s somewhere you want to commit to for many years. It will also give you a sense of the foot or car traffic at important times of the day – like before and after work and when you usually go to bed.

Do Some Research

Brush up on the city and neighborhood ordinances to find out any potential annoyances. If the city bans things like fire pits, overnight street parking or certain breeds of dogs, that would really put a damper on hosting your annual overnight s’mores sleepover with your friends and their pit bulls.

Roam on Your Own

Even if you have a real estate agent you absolutely love and trust, it’s a good idea to walk the house without them. After you get a guided tour and get all the information from them, make sure to roam on your own. You might pick up on some things you miss with their accompaniment. That way, when you meet back up with your agent, you’ll have some good questions they can, hopefully, answer for you.

Prepare to Offer the List Price – or More

Just because all of the people on those house hunting shows may try to shave a few grand off the asking price doesn’t mean you should. If the house is within your price range and meets everything on your wish list, it’s not worth the risk of losing it. Don’t lose a property over a couple thousand; it’s not worth it. For example, $5,000 over your 30-year mortgage is, before interest, about $14 a month. It’s important to note that lenders cannot lend more than the appraised value of the house. Therefore, you would have to bring the extra money to the table upfront at closing. Still, if you’re looking in a super competitive market and the house already has an offer on it, you might even consider offering above the list price.

Have any tips to make sure a home is offer-worthy? Leave them in the comments below.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Hey George and Kevin, George is wrong and you are wrong. It clearly states that the lender will not lend more than that the house is worth right under where it says $5 grand and $14 a month extra. Go back to grammar school and learn how to read.

    1. Thanks for the feedback! The post is correct now, but that’s because it was edited at the time. George was right and we always appreciate constructive criticism. Have a great day!

  2. It makes sense that you should look into local ordinances before making an offer on a house to see if there are any potential deal breakers that you were not aware of. My wife and I will be moving soon and we want to find a house that is close to work. I’ll be sure to look into nearby neighborhood rules to make sure that we will feel confident when we decide to buy our house.

  3. RE: HOA’s… Get a copy of the restrictions before you buy. We bought into a wonderful neighborhood with the HOA from you know where. Every year we get three or more letters complaining about one thing or another. Next house one of our dealing breaking conditions is: NO HOA!!

  4. Even though you can overbid on a house by $5000, but prepare to pay for it out of pocket if it doesn’t appraise for more than the listing price… this article says that $5000 extra would result in $14/month extra payment, but doesn’t mention that a lender wouldn’t let you borrow more than what the house appraises for..

    1. Hey George:

      You’re right. I’m working on getting this clarified. Thanks for the eyes!


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