Choosing the right home is much like finding the best candidate for a job opening. You’re the boss and the house is your potential new employee. But more than only seeing a new face in the office 8-9 hours a day, 5 times a week, you’d be living with (or in it) for up to 24 hours a day!
But since houses can’t talk, how do you make sure you’re hiring the right home? Here are 10 tips on being the perfect home buyer:
1. Make sure the seller chooses you!
Just like how a potential employer may be interviewing other applicants, the seller will also be talking to other interested buyers.
So, how do you make the seller want to choose you? Simple: Be the most capable and most qualified buyer he or she will ever meet. How? Get pre-approved on your home loan before even looking at houses. Make sure that your credit history has been stable for the last three to six months, at least. Keep your money where it’s at, and don’t make any huge purchases before buying a new home.
2. Make a checklist of things you need (and want)
Now that you’re sure the seller would like you, it’s time to see if you like the house.
What are the things you’re looking for in a home? Should it be child-friendly? Do you absolutely need a fireplace? Is having your own backyard a requirement? Don’t just dive into house hunting. Make a list of your own house qualifications so you can easily narrow down your candidates when it’s time to choose.
3. Bring on your poker face
Much like a job interview, be professional. Don’t show too much enthusiasm to the seller, even if you really, really like the house.
Or, if you dislike it at first glance, keep offensive comments about the property to yourself.
Come negotiating time, everything you say or do may be used against you. So from the viewing, and even after it (don’t post anything online just yet!), keep quiet about your feelings towards the home.
4. Review all of its strengths and weaknesses
Did the house satisfy all qualifications on your checklist? Great! Now with that poker face on, ask more about what the house has to offer, and what it may lack.
Should you prepare for repairs? Are there any other offers on the house yet? What are the restrictions on the house? What are the fees included in buying this property? Are pets allowed? How long has the house been on the market? These are just some of the questions you should be asking while you can.
5. Take notes, and even photos
The seller will always put up the best photos of the property on the listing. So if you can (remember to ask the seller first!), take photos of the house for you to review later on.
And as much as we would like to, we won’t always remember all the answers the seller gave us during the viewing. Take note of these on a piece of paper, or in a reminder on your phone. You might also want to take note of things you notice that the seller didn’t mention. More than taking a mental note of important details like this, get it on paper.
6. Be a gracious guest
As professional and probing as you are, remember that it’s not your house (yet). Go through the house like you were a friend invited to view a friend’s new house.
Aside from asking first before you take photos, ask permission to do other things in your investigation of the house. It can be as simple as asking if you can check if the toilet’s flush is working, or requesting the owner to open a locked door so you can view its contents.
7. Require a physical examination!
Just like an employer would require a medical examination before signing a contract, hire a home inspector before you close the deal.
You might have asked all the right questions, but to be completely sure of the house’s health, it’s best to hire a professional.
8. Stalk the property
Much like you would do a background check on a potential employee, do one on the house you are planning to buy, too.
One surefire way to see if it’s the perfect fit for you and your family is to check it and its neighborhood at all times of the day. Remember, you’re going to spend every day in the area, so you have to make sure that you’ll be comfortable roaming the streets, both during the day and after dark.
Another thing people usually forget when buying a house is the lifestyle around it. Does the neighbor’s dog bark all throughout the night? Is there a commercial building around the area that makes rush hour traffic unbearable? These are things you’d want to know.
9. Time your purchase right
Sound knowledge of the market will help you gauge whether it’s the right time to buy, but obsessively studying and following market trends may only cause you unhealthy and unnecessary fear.
While there’s nothing wrong in being informed, know that the right time to buy will always be up to you. Which means: It will be up to your preferences and budget.
The market will always be unpredictable. It’s easier to be sure of yourself. If you followed everything mentioned above and you think you’ve really found the perfect house with the right price, then it’s time!
10. Have proper bidding etiquette
Last but not the least, when you’re finally ready to make that offer, remember two important things:
Your budget - Don’t outbid yourself! Try not to be too enthusiastic in getting the house. Keep in mind what you can and cannot afford, and try to stick to that as much as possible.
The house’s worth - Just as much as you shouldn’t be too enthusiastic, don’t be too stingy either. Don’t offend the owner with an offer that’s too low. This will only lower your chances of getting the house. Your Realtor will be your best resource in establishing a winning offer.