talking about buying a home

Buying a Home in DC? When to Make an Offer and When to Keep Looking

Buying a home is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful – and that’s especially true if you have an idea in your mind of exactly what you want out of your new residence. This helpful guide will help you make some tough decisions along the way – namely, it will help you decide whether you should settle for a home that doesn’t quite live up to your expectations or whether you should just keep looking.

Common “Almost Perfect” Issues Reported by Buyers

When buying a home in DC, people often give their real estate agents a list of “musts” and a list of “wants”. If you have two teens, for example, then a home with three bedrooms and at least two bathrooms is a must, but a large backyard might be a want. Often, real estate agents struggle to find available homes that the potential buyer would consider “perfect,” which leads to buyer frustration and, unfortunately, settling. Perhaps the price is great and the home layout itself is amazing, but the home is much further than the buyer’s place of employment than expected. In another case, maybe the home has absolutely everything the buyer wants, but it’s $100,000 over budget.

When to Consider Making an Offer

First and foremost, remember that your real estate agent will do everything within his or her power to meet all your musts and wants while staying within your budget. Finding the “perfect” home is often very difficult, and buyers find themselves wondering whether they should make an offer or keep looking. Here are a few scenarios in which you should consider making an offer:

  • The price is only slightly over your budget. Many lenders will work with you to a degree, especially if the value of the home justifies the price. Before immediately turning it down, determine what your offer would be, then calculate your payments and see if they would fit your budget.
  • The flooring, walls, or décor are outdated. If the home is perfect for you in every other way but you don’t like the antiquated fireplace or shag carpeting, remember that these things can be changed – and you might even be able to include the costs in your offer.
  • The layout isn’t perfect. If you’re set on an open-concept layout but the kitchen and living room are divided, don’t avoid making a bid because of it right away. Find out if it’s possible to take down the separating wall, which is a relatively cheap undertaking that could solve the problem on the spot.

When to Keep Looking

Of course, for the most part, if you don’t like a home, if it isn’t big enough, or if the yard doesn’t suit your needs, it’s important for you to keep looking. Settling for a home that is too small or one that doesn’t have enough bedrooms will cause more problems than it solves. You should also keep looking if the asking price is far too high for the size and location of the home, and you should keep looking if the home has serious issues that the buyer isn’t willing to address.

Sometimes buyers compromise when it comes to finding a home, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Knowing when you can safely compromise and when you might be making a mistake is important, though. Buying a home is a huge step, and it’s crucial that you find a home that you can not only live with, but love.