Is It Smart to Make an Offer on the First Home You See?

In the course of your home search, you may spend months looking at a lot of homes, only to fail to find one that suits your needs or works for your budget. But what if you have the opposite experience? What if you embark on a home search, and magically, the very first property you view is one you decide you’d like to live in? Should you make an offer without seeing other homes? Or should you hold off and force yourself to look at other options?

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The upside of making an offer on the first home you see

It’s possible to sink weeks or months into a home search, and that might grow increasingly frustrating. It might also take you away from other obligations and, just as importantly, delay your entry into the world of homeownership. If you make an offer on the first home you see, you might significantly expedite that process — and save yourself a world of frustration along the way.

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The downside of making an offer on the first home you see

On the other hand, if you make an offer on the very first home you look at, you miss the opportunity to check out other homes that may be a better fit logistically, aesthetically, or financially. Say you check out a home that seems to meet your requirements that’s listed for $375,000. There may be a comparable home around the corner, or a few blocks over, that’s listed for $360,000, but if you make an offer on that first home and it gets accepted, you’ll be locked in.

Also, the more homes you look at, the more your priorities may evolve. You might go into a home search thinking you don’t care about having a finished basement, only to realize how useful and convenient that feature is once you keep seeing it. If you make an offer on the first home you look at, you might miss out.

What’s the right call?

If you’ve done a bunch of research before going out to look at properties and have toured many homes virtually on real estate listing sites, then at that point, you may know what you’re looking for and know what a reasonable price point is for the type of home you want. In that situation, you may feel comfortable making an offer on the first home you see in person.

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But in general, it is a good idea to check out at least a few homes before making an offer on one. Buying a home is a huge decision, and the home you make an offer on could become the place you live for the next 10, 20, or 30 years. It’s important to comparison shop and see what else is out there before taking that plunge.

Of course, in today’s real estate market, homes are getting scooped up left and right. If you see a home and don’t make an offer right away, there’s a good chance it will be gone if you change your mind and decide to make an offer a week later. But still, it’s important to be fully aware of your options before buying a home, so don’t rush the process. Spending a little more time looking could be your ticket to a less expensive mortgage, home features that work better for you, or both.

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