You’ve found THE house and you’re ready to take the big step and write an offer.  But what is the right price?  Should you start low or come in at full price?  Should you offer more than asking price to seal the deal?

Determining the best offer price is based on a variety of factors, the first being the price of comparable properties.  Your Realtor will research sales and current listings, usually going back no more than 6 months.  She will try to find homes that have a similar number of bedrooms and baths and square footage.   She will also look for properties in the same or similar neighborhood of the same age.  Other factors she will consider might be upgrades and amenities, such as a remodeled kitchen or swimming pool, or view.  The more like the home you hope to buy, the better the comps.

Reviewing the prices of the comparable sales and listings will usually give you a reasonable price range.  The next step in determining your offer price is to look at the condition of the home.  If there are obvious repairs needed, such as new carpet or paint your offer price might be at the lower end of the price range for the comps.  On the other hand, if the home is in move-in condition or has other outstanding features or upgrades, your offer price should be closer to the top end of the range.

Another important factor is the competition.  How long has the home been on the market?  How long were the comps on the market?  Are you competing against other offers?  Is there a scarcity or over-supply of similar homes in this price range?  As with any commodity supply and demand are important factors in determining price.

And finally there is an emotional component.  If this truly is your dream home and you can’t bear the thought of having your offer rejected, you might be inclined to offer above the asking price and even above the comps.  Just be aware that if you are getting a mortgage on the property and it doesn’t appraise as high as you are willing to pay, the difference will most likely have to come out of your pocket.  You should also be cautious about buying at the top of your personal price range or depleting your savings as it will be difficult to enjoy your dream home if you’re house poor.

As I noted in a post earlier this year price isn’t everything when it comes to getting your offer accepted, but it is the most important factor.  Work closely with your Realtor; listen to her guidance, ask questions and carefully weigh all of the factors.  In the end the decision is yours so please, do everyone a favor and don’t waste time with a ridiculously low offer!  If you want the house, bid like you mean it…you might not get another chance!

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