Making an Offer

Before the offer to purchase is created, it is very important that you have been at least pre-qualified or better yet pre-approved by a lender.

This is one of the best negotiating tools a buyer can have. It shows the seller that you are financially able to purchase the condo. After you have found the right condo, it is time to prepare the offer.

When you are buying a condo, there are many problems that the seller is obligated to disclose. For example, in most states, it is illegal to withhold information about major physical defects on the property, but these disclosures don't always paint the entire picture of the condo. Here are six questions you may want to ask that can offer additional insight about the prospective condo before you make a final decision.

1) Why is the seller selling the condo? This question may help you evaluate the "real value" of the property. Is there something about the condo the seller does not like? If so, you may be able to adjust the purchase offer accordingly.

2) How much did the seller pay for the condo? This question can, in some instances, help the buyer negotiate a better deal-maybe even get the seller to carry part of the loan. However, it is important to remember that the purchase price is influenced by several factors, like the current market value and any improvements the seller may have made to the condo. The original purchase price might not have anything to do with the current value of the condo.

3) What does the seller like most and least about the condo? By asking the seller what he or she likes most and least about the condo, you might get some interesting information. In a few cases, what a seller likes the most about a condo might actually be something the buyer is looking to avoid. For example, if the seller describes his condo as being in a "happening building," the buyer might consider this a negative factor because the building may be too noisy or busy for his or her taste.

4) Has the seller had any problems with the condo in the past? It is also a good idea to ask the seller if he or she has had any problems with the condo while living there. Has the seller had problems with a leakage from the bathroom in the past? If so, even if the leak has been corrected, the floor and walls around the bathroom might have been damaged. You should also check that these items were repaired properly.

5) Are there any nuisances or problem neighbors? Use this answer to find out about any noisy neighbors, barking dogs, heavy airplane traffic or even planned changes to the community, such as a planned street widening. This may give you insight on why the seller is really moving.

6) How are the public schools in the area? Because the value of a community is usually greatly influenced by the public schools in the area, finding out the buyer's perception can give you some insight about the quality of the area's schools.

Knowing all you can about a prospective condo, not only helps you decide if it's the condo of your dreams, but what offer to make as well. Your real estate professional can help you get your key questions answered and give you advice on how to evaluate your findings.