So, a house finally caught your eye. You've seen it, been guided through it, and you love it. Now it's time to make a dazzling offer and bag it. In order to do this, you have to be prepared, and that means following some textbook steps. Luckily, we'll break them down for you:
* Get outside financing. You want to make offers behind which you can stand. In order to do that, you're going to have to figure out your desired price range. To set or increase this range, you'll probably need outside financing. Be it bank, mortgaging, credit union or a private option, get pre-approved before homehunting. By doing this, you can skip properties that are out of your league and focus on what you will be able to purchase.
* Be realistic. Learn to 'read' your local real estate market. Go back to basics: Slow markets favor aggressive buyers, while those in which homes don't last long will make you shell out a bit more to the realistic side. Take your Realtor into consideration, always communicate with them; they know the market and are there to guide you through every step of the way.
* Look out for hidden damage. Have the property inspected by third parties. Your new house may look pretty, but hidden plumbing or wiring imperfections, for instance, will make that bargain seem like less of a steal. «Buy cheap, pay dear» must come to mind when investing big like that, and you should be ready to ask for a third party certificate, stating that everything is A-OK before you make an offer.
* Try to get concessions. Seller's concessions are, simply put, sacrifices the seller makes in order to close the deal with a buyer. For example, if the house needs work done, the buyer can make an agreement in which they take care of the repairs in order to lower the amount of money they have to pay in the closing table. Concessions can also come in a reduction of the closing price in exchange for paying this very reduction in the form of a loan. Troubling economies favor buyers, so try to negotiate any and all concessions.
* Conveyancing is your friend. You are not just purchasing the right to live somewhere, you are buying the land in which that something stands. This should be a given, but it's still useful to make it legal and acknowledged before a notary and legally approved. When doing this, be sure to remember to include anything that comes with the house into the signed contract. You'll always want to leave everything in writing: better safe than sorry.
* Be explicit about timing and deposit amount: After the last 5 steps, when you think you're ready to make an offer, remember to state the time range you're willing to wait for response, and the amount of money you'll put as a deposit that your offer implies. This can save you a whole lot of hassle and unwanted calls and responses.