Intro and Overview


Placing an offer on a home feels pretty good. It feels even better if you are confident that your offer will at be considered. What is most important however, is confidence.

Not to sound like DR. Phil or your high school track coach but, you need to be confident that your offer will be the offer that gets the house. You need to be confident that the inspections that were done are accurate and honest. You need to be confident that your negotiating skills are on par or even better than that of the person selling the house. Most importantly you have to be confident that there are other houses out there. Desperation is your worst enemy, if you are desperate you will pay more for a home that you may not even need.

The Basics

Part of gaining confidence is organization. The following is a brief overview of what you should figure out before you start making offers in earnest.

The following is a list of the top ten things you should do to make your search for a home a smart search.

Get informed. Do lots of research. Start saving your deposit as soon as you can. Try not to buy around the top of a boom in property prices. These often reflect idiosyncrasies in the market. Location and special features are the most important factors in choosing your home. Dont get your heart set on any particular property - it will impair your judgment. If you miss out on one, you will in time find something as good or even better. Always check the condition of what you are buying with a property inspection. Shop around for a loan. Also, choose your legal advisor and building consultant carefully and make the most of their advice and expertise. Before making the final decision, ask yourself whether you could easily resell the property in the worst economic times. Never sign anything in haste and if you dont understand what youre signing get your legal advisor to explain it to you.

Location, $$$, and Time (the holy trinity of home buying)

Now that you have the fundamentals, the fun part comes in. That is finding the home that fits your personality and your budget. Again, you are going to want to ask yourself several questions when you are out looking for a prospective property. A simple process if there ever was one. Just think back to grade six story writing class. All you need to do is ask: who, what, when, where, why and how?


While you may know what you want, what does your spouse and family want? Will there be any additions or subtractions from your family unit in the future. Are you looking for a type of seller? Someone who might give you a break because they like your personality?


Price range Type of home e.g. freestanding house, terrace, townhouse, unit New, used or old Renovated or not renovated Style preferences Number and size of bedrooms Other requirements such as family room, more than one bathroom, formal and informal dining areas, a home office, space for your hobbies/interests Yard or balcony Access for vehicle, parking


When will you have enough cash on hand to pay for a down payment? Have you obtained the mortgage plan that you want? Is the market right? In other words, is the appraised value of your home on par with the market price?


Overall, where do you want to live? An urban area, suburb or rural area. Make a short list of neighborhoods that fit that description. What amenities do you need? Work, schools, shops, recreational facilities. When you look out of your window what do you want to see. Trees, water, a beautiful skyline or a sunny garden.


Are you looking for a new property for the right reasons? Do you have to move, or do you just want to move. Has your lifestyle changed dramatically and should you adjust for that? For instance a recently divorced person may not need an entire home, even if they can afford one.


Do you actually have enough money to pay for the home in the long-term? Will you family expenses grow faster than your income? Can you afford the renovations that are needed as well as the ones that are wanted?

Granted these are all fairly esoteric questions, but doing a little should searching isn't a bad idea before any purchase. Believe me, I have met many couples who got so swept up in the process of buying home they lost sight of who they were and what they wanted.

The Contract

Once you have found the home, met the people you will be dealing with, and established a relationship with a realtor, the tricky part begins. This is where things you do start to be 'carved in stone', that is to say that you are legally responsible for your decisions, decisions that could cost you thousands of dollars.

Make sure you know what to expect from a contract and what your rights are. The following is a list of all aspects of a contract that you should be aware of.

Address and legal description of the property and home Agreed sale price Terms of sale, all down payments and mortgage conditions Seller's promise to legally hand over the title of the land A target date for the finalization of the sale Amount of down payment. This may also be known as earnest money or deposit. It should also be specified whether this money would be delivered in the form of cash, check, and promissory note. You must also specify how that money will be returned if the deal does not go through, and how that money will be paid if you brake the contract Method and agreement by which all insurance, property taxes, fuel, water bills, and any other utilities with be transferred from the seller to the buyer Who will pay for independent inspections? Type of deed to be given Any state specific clauses. For instance, attorney review of the contract and disclosure of any hazards such as fault lines, flood plains and contamination A time limit that, if passed, nullifies the offer CONTINGENCIES*** (very important)

***For an explanation of contingencies go to the contingencies page.