Making an Offer on Our First Home
As I mentioned in my last post, my husband and I had found a lovely house in Wheaton, Illinois. Now we needed to make an offer. Our realtor, Julie of the Julie Ann Real Estate Team, gave us some great advice and helped us understand what factors went into the asking price, what other homes in the neighborhood were selling for, and what we should consider when putting together a fair offer.
That night we decided on the maximum price we were comfortable with. We considered not only the amount the bank was willing to lend us, but also the maximum monthly mortgage we were comfortable with. As first-time homebuyers, we wanted to get a nice house, but we also wanted to maintain our lifestyle of dining out, going to concerts and ballgames, and taking vacations.
The next morning, we talked to Julie and completed the paperwork electronically to officially put in an offer on the house. It was really nice not having to meet up with her to fill everything out or even find a fax machine. She emailed us the documents, and we completed them, scanned them, and emailed them back. She made a very scary process quite easy!
Our initial offer was about 20 percent below the asking price. Then the seller countered, taking about $5,000 off the asking price. A good friend had advised us not to go up any higher than the seller was coming down, and we found that to be a good rule of thumb. We went back and forth a number of times before we finally came to a price that we could all agree upon. The negotiations went fast, and by the end of the day, we were under contract on our first home.
It was exciting, but also stressful. There were points during the negotiation where my husband and I wondered if we were doing the right thing. Could we really afford this house? Was it going to be too much work? The price itself was overwhelming, and even when we looked at the potential monthly mortgage, we weren™t sure if we were doing the right thing. But the more we thought about it, the more we crunched the numbers, and the more we considered the benefits of owning a home, we knew it was right.
Once we were under contract, we put down an earnest money deposit of $3,000. While this was a large sum for us, it was only a small portion of the selling price. These funds were put into an escrow account and used toward our down payment.
Although we were officially under contract, with the house selling œas-is, we still wanted to complete a home inspection. Julie informed us that we had the right to walk away at any time. Depending on when and how we walked away, we may or may not get our deposit back. Knowing that even an as-is contract could be cancelled if the home inspection did not meet our standards gave us peace of mind during the process.
Stay tuned for my next post, where you™ll get an inside look at our home inspection.
Debra Berkowitz McCraw is a freelance writer and editor based in the Chicagoland area. Learn more about her on her website, www.debrabmccraw.com.
Posted By: Julie Anne – The Julie Anne Real Estate Team at Keller Williams Success Realty
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