I’d venture to say that many home Buyers sign offers to purchase houses without having the slightest clue as to what they’re agreeing.
I hope I’m way wrong, but the skeptic inside me leans towards the probability that, in this world of lightning fast electronic wizardry, there are a fair number of House buyers who instruct their agents to send the offer via email so they can digitally sign and send it back for presentation to the seller . . . without much more than a glance at the plethora words on the many pages.
Sure that’s a convenient and relatively secure way to execute the documents, but don’t let the ease of use lull you into such a sense of comfortable complacency that you neglect to pay attention to (and understand) the TERMS of said offer.
In my perfect world, I’d sit with every Buyer as we did back in the day and build the offer together . . . often at a table in a McDonalds or on the hood of a car using real PAPER and pen.
Ah well . . . nostalgia aside . . . If you’re going to do it the way of the wizards (electronically), you might as well ask some pertinent questions before signing, so:
- What’s included in the property? Appliances? Out Buildings? Bathroom Mirrors? What else?
- What’s the seller planning to take that we might normally think should stay?
- How much should I offer?
- Can I see a market analysis showing me the recent (6-12 months) sales of similar homes nearby?
- Can we find out how much the Seller owes on the house? Do they have equity?
- What is the Seller’s motivation? Why are they moving?
- Have they already found another house?
- Should this contract be contingent upon the Appraised Value being equal to or exceeding our final price?
- Who’s paying closing Costs? Can we build our (Buyer’s) closing costs and prepaid expenses into the deal, so we can save our cash
- Will there be a Title Insurance policy, and who will pay for that?
- Where are we going to close the deal? Will the Seller close in the same place?
- What should we write about our financing? % Down-payment? Type of Financing? (Conventional, FHA, VA, CASH)
- Should we provide a pre-qualification Letter with our offer?
- Oh! We have to give them Earnest money?
- How much is appropriate?
- When will they cash the check
- When will we get that money back?
- where does it sit between no and closing?
- Is it safe? How could I lose it?
- when can we close?
- What is the Seller’s preference?
- Can our lender meet that closing date?
- Let’s make sure we don’t pick a date that’s a Holiday or weekend day
- When can we move in?
- Before closing?
- On the day of closing?
- After closing to give the seller time to move out?
- How is the money calculated with the prorations?
- When will my first payment be due?
- Is there a Homeowner’s association for this neighborhood?
- Are there transfer fees up front
- What are the monthly fees?
- What do we get for this money? Lawn Care? Swimming pool?
- How will we be sure that the seller delivers a clear title at closing?
- What happens if the title search reveals a cloud?
- will the seller provide a Property condition disclosure?
- Are there any known hazardous environmental concerns like Radon, asbestos, or Lead Based Paint?
- Can I have the property inspected and make the offer contingent upon my satisfaction of that inspection?
- What happens if the inspector finds lots of things wrong with the house?
- What if they find termites?
- How long do we have for these inspections?
- Can we ask the Seller to fix things or give us money so we can fix them after closing?
- What else could be an issue we haven’t thought about?
- Survey? Where are the boundaries?
- Flood zone? Could Flood insurance be required?
- Insurability? What happens if the cost of insurance is a lot more than we expect?
- Water supply? Is it safe, potable water
- Waste Disposal? Is the house on Sewer or septic? If Septic, is the system OK?
- Who pays the REALTORS?
- Can I get a Home Warranty? who pays for that?
- What else?
That’s a LOT of questions . . . and ALL of them are worth asking before you commit yourself to a multi-hundred-thousand-dollar contract.
Of course, your REALTOR has the knowledge and resources to answer most (if not all) of these questions.
the intent here is to give the average home Buyer the questions to ask/consider because so often we don’t ask the questions simply because we don’t know enough to know WHAT questions to ask . . . until it’s too late.
S L O W D O W N
Go ahead and ask the questions.
Build a great offer that you fully understand.
Move forward with confidence.
When in doubt, I and the “Vital Few” real estate sales Professionals of Pareto Realty are poised and ready to serve you here in Middle Tennessee.
If you happen to need real estate services in another city or state, connect with us . . . We’ll find the perfect agent for ya!