4 Things You’ll Want to Know Before You Put an Offer on a House

by Carson BuckSeptember 30, 2016

Done With Renting, Ready to Buy a Home?

Becoming a homeowner is an important milestone for many. Your first home can hold precious memories, like your child’s first steps, coming of age memories, celebrations of life, and other cherished moments.

If you’re ready to take the step of purchasing a home, it’s important to know that the process of preparing for, finding, and buying a home requires patience and a bit of research. Read on for four essential pieces of information you’ll want to know before you commit to buying your dream home.

making an offer on a home first time purchase

Budget Realistically

Before you begin scrolling through rental listings and set your sights on that perfect home, set a budget. Buying a home is a long-term commitment, and it’s important to think in longevity. While you may be able to afford a certain payment now, is this a realistic expectation 5, 10, or 15 years down the road? Let this proactive thinking help you determine a realistic budget for your home.

Financial advisor Kelly Long specializes in helping homeowners purchase homes that they can realistically afford. As a money coach, she recommends that your monthly mortgage payment should not exceed more than 28% of your gross income. She advises potential homebuyers, “if you buy [a house] for more than you can afford, you’ll end up hating the house and yourself in the long run.”

To help avoid future financial difficulties as a homeowner, set yourself up for success by researching the local real estate market. Is the average home sale price exceeding its list price? Falling short? If homes are selling for well over list prices, you may need to set your budget lower than initially anticipated. Be aware of sale prices, not just list prices, as you set a budget to help you select the perfect home.

Do Your Research

Once you’ve set a realistic budget for your home hunt, start thinking about where you’d like to search for a house. Are certain neighborhoods outside of your price range? Are other neighborhoods too far from your work for you to commute? The area surrounding your home can just as easily impact your quality of life as the physical home as well. So do your research!

To help you narrow down a list of areas and neighborhoods you’d like to live in, start by making a list of things you value. How important is walkability? Are school district boundaries a primary concern?

We recommend that you consider factors including neighborhood amenities, crime rates, schools, and ease of commute. Once you’ve decided deal breakers, necessities, and wish list items, go online to research where you should focus your house hunt.

making an offer on a home first time purchase

Get Your Money in Order

So what else do you need to do in order to expedite and aid a smooth buying process? Regardless of whether you’ve found the house, or if your bid has been accepted, it is important to have your money ready. As the buying process can often be chaotic and competitive, it’s key to ensure you’ve set aside necessary information and funds that you’ll need in the window of time following your purchase.

Common monetary asks include an inspection and a deposit of earnest money. In the purchase contract, you may be asked to provide a deposit (this can range from 1% to 5% of the home’s total purchase price). It’s important that you consider these costs outside of your initial “percent down” payment to be fully prepared for buying a home.

Persevere Through the Entire Process

Once you’ve found a house, put in an offer, and been accepted, one of the worst things you can do is rush the process out of excitement to secure the home as your own. With many hot markets, many buyers are waiving the inspection process to expedite offer approvals.

One word: don’t! Being aware of the homes foundation defects could lead to unforeseen consequences and costs in your future, waiving an appraisal contingency could be a deal breaker. So play smart. Make sure your offer is well informed to set you up for success as a new homeowner.

Getting to the finish line and buying a special home can be trying, but with some research and a little patience, you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect place to call home.


Homes.com is the place to dream and discover your ideal home! Are you starting to get the itch to look for your first or next home, but don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place! Browse our real estate and lifestyle blog for home buying tips, mortgage guides, DIY ideas, interior design, lifestyle topics, general home inspiration, or just some homes fun. We are sure you can scratch that itch and find all the information and tools you need to help in your home search. Want to start looking at available real estate right now? Head to our home page and check out homes for sale or rent listings all over the country. Happy house hunting!

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About The Author
Carson Buck
Carson is a real estate agent based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Carson loves data and market research, and how readily available it is in today's world. He is passionate about interpreting these insights to help his clients find and buy their perfect home. Carson got into the real estate industry because he loves the feeling of handing over the keys to a new home to happy clients. In his free time, he works on his backyard bonsai garden and spends time with his wife, Julia.

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