So, I just put an offer on a house... advice?

I’m exhausted and terrified now - I just put in an offer on a house I very much like, and it’s driving me mad! :slight_smile:

It’s a lot of things I want - it’s an old (1928) bungalow, in a pretty desirable area of town although not the most desireable. It’s very nice inside and spacious for the type of house I’m looking for. 1700 square feet, one story, brick with a nice porch. 3/1.5. I’d redo the bathrooms, as the charm has been renovated all out of htem and replaced with ugly. Otherwise, it’s pretty move-in-able.

Problems: it’s on more of a slope than I’d want, and the back door has a lot of steps out of it. I’d like to add a garage, but getting into the house from a garage would almost have to involve going through the front door as opposed to a short protected walkway. The kitchen’s small, as are the bathrooms, but that’s what you get with these little bungalows and that doesn’t really bother me so much, since I love the houses. The location isn’t fabulous - it’s on a busyish street for the neighborhood, there’s a lot of renters around, it’s on the edge of the neighborhood, there’s a power substation down the road. The yard is kind of weird - bigger than I’d want and to the side of the house instead of the back. There’s a house two streets farther into the neighborhood which has a much better location but needs a lot of work and is not really as nice on the inside; I’m still considering at that one.

So - what should I be thinking about now? What should I go back and take a look at? What do I need to consider RIGHT NOW while I’m not tied into anything? Anecdotes, facetia, satire, etc? Somebody tell me it’s okay if a better perfect house comes on the market the week after I close!

Eek, no help? I’ve been back and forth with my parents on the phone all day about the other house; worse interior (smaller even after the work it needs), no porch, but better location. The price would be about the same, I guess, after all the work it needs. Interior or location? Interior or location?!

My gut is to go with interior, but my dad’s urging location. This is agony.

Do you mean you’re considering buying a second house (the one that’s in better condition) or that if your current offer if rejected you will consider it? Because you are tied into something right now - if you’ve made an offer and they accept it, and any contingencies are satisfied, you are obligated to buy the first house; or withdraw your offer and lose any money you have put down. (Unless the offer was written such that you can walk away for any reason with no financial penalties, which would be extremely unusual.)

Whatever house you buy, you are always going to feel some level of buyer’s remorse. You probably will see some house that looks “better” later on, but just remember that you don’t have all the details of that house and it might not really be better anyway. Or it might be but you can’t dwell on it!

Definitely make sure you get a home inspection and have a contingency written into the offer for one. If you didn’t do this already, I’m not sure if it can be added. Most likely not.

They say there are three factors that go into the value of a house: location, location and location :slight_smile:

If you’ve already put in an offer on the first house, it’s conceivable that you may already be “locked in” to that one - if the sellers accept your offer “as is” (i.e., w/o counteroffering) I don’t know if the contract is automatically considered ratified (wrong word?) at that point.

However, assuming you’re not: How troublesome do you think the street location of house A (busy street, nicer interior) is likely to be? That might fall under the heading of “unfixable defect” and therefore make the house harder to sell when it’s time for you to move on. How is its value compared to the local real estate market? What’s its history as far as how long it’s been on the market (and how long are houses typically on the market in your area)? Those are things that might give you clues as to the house’s true value.

Is there a significant price difference between the two?

How tough would it be to update the interior of house B to make it more comfortable? Can you afford to make the renovations? (either via writing a check to a contractor or by putting in “sweat equity”). What’s its yard like? What is the street noise like in one versus the other?

“lots of renters” = red flag because sometimes landlords don’t take as good care of a place - we were in a townhouse for years where most of the houses on our row were rented. Most tenants did OK but others were slobs; one landlord in particular really let his place get run down. Dunno if this is a problem for a detached house so much, but with condos, it can be tough to get a mortgage in a place that’s got a high proportion of rentals. Are there fewer rental houses near house B?

It sounds like you want someone to tell you, “you made the right real estate decision”, second-person, without knowing the houses, the prices, the market, the locations, prices of similar homes. . .nothing.

You don’t even know if you’re making the right decision when you know all those things first hand.

Personally, I’d live in a shack on my street because I think the location is so good. Depends what you value.

I haven’t put any money down, and my realtor knows I’m still waffling in the direction of the other house.

When I say “busy street” I don’t mean a really busy street, just the sort of residential street that a lot of people use as a through-street because it has lights at both ends. It’s not as quiet as House 2, but there aren’t any restaurants or bars nearby or anything, and it’s more a “busier” street than a “busy” street.

The cost difference is made up pretty much by the cost of renovations - really for me it’s a question of “interior vs. location” rather than a direct cost issue.

And yeah, I kind of wanted somebody to say “you made the right decision!” without knowing anything about it, obviously. :slight_smile:

Honestly, the more I think about it the more I think my first impulse was the correct one. The location is not so much the worse as to make a really big difference on resale, I think, and it’s the interior I’d be living in.

What I really started the thread for, before I got back into my stress-out insecurity feedback loop, is what happens after the whole offer process - my realtor has some reccommended inspectors who are familiar with this kind of house, but what should I specifically be looking for? What wouldn’t I think to look at that would make a big difference to my daily house enjoyment? What did you miss?

I’ll say it for you.

Seriously: It doesn’t sound like a case of one decision being right and the other wrong; they both sound like reasonable decisions and both houses sound like they’d work out just fine for you. :slight_smile: Make your decision and don’t look back.

You didn’t have to put any deposit at all down? Wow, that’s unheard of in most places. How do they make sure that people just don’t make offers on numerous properties with no serious intention of actually buying?

I would recommend that you find an inspector on your own. It’s not hard and you can then be sure there is no bias or kickback going on. Especially if this agent is actually the seller’s agent, or is a buyer’s agent whose fee is contingent on the home sale going through. You can find someone through the American Society of Home Inspectors. Do not get someone who has little experience, or is normally a handyman or contractor or “knows plumbing,” etc., and says he can “do” an inspection too.

Some things I didn’t notice when I bought my house that I wish I had:

  1. Not enough electrical outlets, and hard to rewire floors 2 and 3.

  2. No closet on the first floor for coats. It’s a pain to have to carry them upstairs.

  3. Basement access only through a bulkhead, which is a GIANT pain in the ass for someone who doesn’t have a shed and who does a lot of gardening.

I actually DID notice all these things but thought they wouldn’t be too bad to deal with. They are. I still would have bought the house though but would have planned things differently. No matter how much you notice beforehand, there are things you’ll never realize until you are living in the place 24/7.

get the inspection!

oh…and you did make the right choice because the house you buy will be yours and the other one will be someone elses and other people don’t like it when you live in their houses. I had the same moment when I placed an offer on the place I close on in a month and I am getting over it. With me it was size vs. location and I went with location because I can live small but I have to be able to bus to work in a reasonable amount of time since gas here is like gouging a hole in your chest and bleeding through your aorta.

A better house than yours will always come on the market after you close because, quite frankly, you did not buy the best house in the world. And neither did I. But that’s o.k., because you have a house of your very own and to you it’s a palace. I bought my townhouse 2 months ago. My first purchase as a single person. And I nevernevernever had buyer’s remorse. I had (and still have) a few moments of “is this really mine???” And at the end of every work day I say to myself “I get to go home now. Sigh of contentment.”]

Get your own inspector and your own lawyer (if you need one. I didn’t use a lawyer and I lived). Do not rely on the real estate agent’s recommendations. My inspector missed nothing. The seller and I talked about 3 things I wanted done, and he did them at his cost.

Okay, I put down earnest money tonight and signed off and everything. It’s embarassing - I’ve been letting my dad handle way too much of this with no questions - not that I don’t trust him, more like I don’t really know what’s happening and I feel really dumb about it. So to be honest it’s really my dad making offers for me and such, which is horribly humiliating.

Dad’s bought a lot of houses in his time, but never one as old as this - he still doesn’t get why I’d want one like that. So old-house-buying advice is very welcome.

I hadn’t even thought about the outlets, for example - any old house won’t have enough, but I should have at least looked. Sigh.

Sigh, they countered waaay too high - I don’t know if they’re going to come down to what I’m willing to pay, and after I was so relieved about making my decision and loving the house! Argh!

I think I’m getting a permanent forehead wrinkle.