As you search for and decide to make possibly the largest financial transaction of your life, you will hopefully be represented by a real estate broker who is on top of every single detail in order to protect your interests.
A few points you might do well to question before you sign your sales contract:
What have other homes in the immediate neighborhood (or apartment building) sold for in the past 6 months? It’s important to look at the closed sale price, not just the asking price. In a cold market, there could easily have been several price reductions as well as a substantial discrepancy between the ask and sell price. In a hot market, there may have been multiple offers, driving the final sale price over ask.
How long has the home been on the market? This will be helpful information before you make your offer. A seller who has been on the market for 12 or even 24 months is growing increasingly desperate to move on and will be much more negotiable on price. Some sellers take their listings down for a while, then re-list after several months in order to disguise the true first date on market.. Ask your broker to dig into the listing details and get the original date and price.
Are there nuisance factors? You’ll want to know if there’s a dog that barks at night or noisy kids next door on the weekend. Maybe you’re on a flight path from a nearby airport. Or the road is heavily traveled late at night. It’s okay to be a pest – keep asking for another visit at different times of the day and different days of the week so you can be fully cognizant of what living there will sound like.