What should I do before putting an offer on that home?

Before you decide to write up that offer, take a second or even a third look at the home. Sometimes you can get too excited or too distracted the first time you see a home and miss noticing a lot of its flaws, leaks, costly repairs, etc.  It pays to carefully look things over and not let your emotions get the best of you.  Did you know the average person only spends 20 minutes in a home before they decide to buy it?  People actually spend more time researching and test driving cars in comparison to buying homes. Personally, I find this concept baffling because the car only costs a few thousand dollars and only lasts for about eight to ten years, yet the home costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and lasts a lot longer than any car does. A poorly built home can cost you a lot more in repairs than any lemony car ever could.

You also may want to take your own photos of both the interior and exterior of the home before proceeding with an offer.  Although, real estate agents have already have taken photos of the home, a lot of these photos do not show you the entire home in detail both inside and out.

Taking your own photos has its advantages too, this not only helps you remember various aspects of the home for decorating, etc., it also protects you in case you run into any problems with the seller damaging the home when they move out.  When you take photos you actually have proof of the condition of the home as you viewed it before you put your offer in.  

Things you may want to know…

Occasionally sellers do strange things.  Like using bleach to clean carpet stains. Which of course, bleaches out the color of the carpet and leaves you with a nice polka dotted look. Sometimes they remove built in shelving or lighting when they are not supposed to and leave you with gaping holes in the walls or ceilings. Other times they can leave you with a extremely messy yard and grass that is so tall that you can’t even cut it with an ordinary lawnmower.

When you sign your offer you will see “as viewed on such and such date” in it.  When you take possession of your home it should be in the same condition as you the date you viewed it.  If not, the sellers become liable for damages and the associated repair costs.  

For instance, you view a home with a beautifully maintained yard, but when you take possession the grass is over a foot long and you have wasps nests in it, etc.  It is obvious you are going to have to call in professional who has a specialized lawnmower to deal with the long grass because your ordinary mower can’t cut it and you will have to call an exterminator to deal with the insects.  At this point, the seller becomes liable for the yard, because it is no longer in the “as viewed” condition. Even some real estate agents may not be aware of that the “as viewed” condition includes exterior yard maintenance, but a lawyer will tell you, as viewed is as viewed and if you need any specialized equipment to cut the lawn the owner then becomes liable for the charges.


The vast majority of sellers are aware they are liable for any damages they cause to a home, but nothing is foolproof 100% of the time. At least if you take your own photos you have actual proof of the home’s condition when you viewed it.  If you don’t have any photos and run into problems it may make things a lot tougher to prove as you can run into the he said, she said, denial fiasco, that damage was originally there, but no one noticed, etc.

FYI – As viewed condition does not apply to foreclosed properties, it is a roll of the dice on those ones.



5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. coconews
    Jun 02, 2008 @ 08:05:54

    I know of a person who bought a home years ago and the sellers touched up all the walls with a totally different paint color and also tried to clean carpet stains with bleach too.

    They were planning to paint and replace the carpets anyway, so it was no big deal to them. But…for someone else it might of been.

    Another great thing about taking your own photos is the new painting software that is available to virtually paint your home. Home Hardware has a nice one out called Home Works. It allows you to paint, add hardwood floors, new roofing, new siding, etc. Which is great because you can see actually what your home would look various ways before you proceed with anything.

  2. KM
    Jun 02, 2008 @ 12:48:32

    That homeworks you mentioned looks great, free trial online too.


  3. Larry Yatkowsky
    Jun 02, 2008 @ 23:13:03

    A matter of privacy.
    You may want consider asking for permission to do so or have it written in your agreement that you will be permitted to take photos if your offer is accepted.

  4. coconews
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 07:24:34

    Oh, yes. Good point, I forgot to mention that. At the showing ask the listing agent (the sellers real estate agent) if it is okay to take some photos before snapping away.

  5. Larry Yatkowsky
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 11:27:16

    No worries, glad to help.

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