John Whalen
     REALTOR ®
 
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When getting ready to buy a home, knowing what price to offer helps give you some level of control over the buying process. The big question is - how do you know what is a fair offer? To come up with an offer that is accurate, there are a few important things to consider.

What Have Similar Properties Sold For In This Area?

Reviewing the selling price of houses comparable to the houses you are interested in and in the same area, gives you a definite advantage.  Specifically, you want to look at total square footage, lot size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, type of construction, garage space, amenities such as; fireplaces, pool, deck, etc.  If you are looking to buy a tract home, finding this information will be easier in that you can use the price of an exact model to do your comparison.  Although some comparable sales information is difficult to find by the public, your real estate agent should be able to access this information easily through Multiple Listing Service (MLS) or public records.

· MLS

This is the listing service used by all real estate agents. Through this service, you can locate all types of information about a specific house. The MLS service will usually provide most of the information needed, although only on homes still actively listed for sale.  only a real estate agent can gain access to the information on house that have already been sold.

· Pending Transactions

Since there is no record of the sales price until the house has actually sold, this makes getting accurate information a little tricky. The information is not available in the MLS.  The reason for this is that the seller is protected should the transaction not go through and the property would go back on the market. By knowing what the buyer accepted on the first accepted offer, new buyers would have a huge advantage the second time the house goes on the market. They would have the upper hand over the seller in knowing what the house sold for and what the buyer is likely to accept.

The bottom line is that analyzing comparable information should be a huge part of your overall house buying process. Look for recent sales in the area you are interested in, the specific house you like, and determine if you have a motivated seller. If a seller has been transferred for a job, or if the house belonged to an elderly mother who just passed away, they may be willing to be more flexible on the selling price.