's 4 Questions to Ask Before You Offer to Buy a Home

Mar 15, 2013, 14:36 ET from

LOS ANGELES, March 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- If you've fallen in love with a home you found by browsing the homes for sale on – and you're about to put in an offer on it – wait a minute. Before you move forward, there are some questions you need answered so that you know your money is going to be spent wisely:

1.  "How long as the home been on the market?"
If the home was just listed a few days ago, the seller is going to be far less likely to accept anything below his asking price. However, if the home has been on the market for months, chances are the seller is motivated to get rid of it – meaning you may be able to score yourself a good deal.

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2.  "Will the seller help with closing costs?"
If the answer is yes, then you can offer more, since you won't have to come up with a chunk of money when you close. (In fact, most sellers will expect you to increase your offer if they're footing some or all of the closing costs!) If the answer is no, then you may want to offer a little less, since you'll have to pay a few thousand dollars at closing time. At the very least, it gives you some wiggle room during the negotiations. Oh, and don't assume that you'll have to foot all of the closing costs for bank-owned properties. In many cases, the bank will take care of the closing costs simply because they want to get rid of the home.

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3.  "Can I see the inspection you had done on the home?"
Many sellers won't bother to get their homes inspected before they list them, because they know that (smart) buyers will do an inspection of their own. However, some sellers will get an inspection done beforehand so that there aren't any surprises later. If your seller falls into this second category, ask to see their inspector's report. It won't relieve you of your responsibility to get the home inspected, but it will alert you to any issues that may make you think twice about moving forward altogether.

4.  "Have there been any foreclosures nearby?"
Unfortunately, as the real estate experts at have pointed out, foreclosures still make up a big chunk of home sales, so it's a question that you need answered before you put in an offer. After all, foreclosures sell far below market value, so simply looking at the average sales price for the neighborhood might be misleading if there have been a number of foreclosures nearby. On the other hand, though, you may want to offer less if the neighborhood is riddled with foreclosures. After all, these homes have the name "distressed" for a reason!

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