First-Time Home Buyers: Three Things To Consider Before You Put In An Offer On A House

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For first-time buyers, the house-hunting process is both exciting and nerve-wracking. You want to make sure you choose the house that is right for you. Sometimes, fresh home buyers can fall in love with a house at first sight, and are prepared to put an offer in right away. However, there are some things you should consider before signing a potential purchase agreement.

1. Items included in the sale. 

It's normal for buyers to check for big-ticket items like appliances when reviewing a purchase offer, but you can ask for other things as well. For example, you might want to make sure the light fixtures are included, as some owners can take these with them when they move. You could also write in other property items like the treehouse in the backyard, a couch you really love, or the swing set for the kids. The worst thing the current owners can say is no, so it's always worth a try when you want something to be included with the house.

2. The ready-money amount.

Every offer needs to have a certain amount of ready money that acts as a deposit on the offer and helps to prevent potential buyers from walking away. A low ready-money amount is not as attractive to sellers, because they might view it as an offer that is not as strong. It can be hard to put a ton of money up front for first-time buyers, just because they don't want to lose it later. Work with your realtor to come up with a ready-money amount that will work well with the offer you put in. For example, you might get away with a lower up-front deposit if you offer full listing price. Sellers might consider a lower offer with fewer contingencies if your ready money offer is quite high. 

3. The small details.

A "love-at-first-sight" house may meet all your wish list items -- kitchen size, number of bedrooms, or a great layout. The prospect of such a perfect fit can distract you from smaller details that will be thorns in your side after closing. For example, do all the windows open and close? Are there enough drawers in the kitchen? Will your table fit in the dining room? Is there a place to put a lawnmower and other outdoor tools? Make a list of little questions to ask yourself as you go through the home. If it is love at first sight, go home and think about it, and then return to take a second look. Small details can affect how much your should really offer. 

For more information and advice, talk to a real estate agent.