Buyers List of Considerations
Following are a few words of wisdom from those of us who have learned from past experience:
Take a few moments to discuss what you're looking for with your spouse or partner before you start setting up appointments to look at properties. Make a list of "must have" features together, then discuss other "would like but can live without" features. After you've looked at a dozen or so properties, re-evaluate your criteria. Often priorities shift with time.
Have a realistic idea of how much you can afford before you start looking (most lenders will pre-qualify you for free). Not only will this save time, but will also avoid needless disappointment on everyone's part.
Find an agent that you like and trust and stay with that agent to find your new home. A lot can be said about being loyal. Be particular about the agent you hire, but after you find that agent, it would be very rude and uncaring to buy from another agent. That would mean all the work your agent has done for you would go unpaid. Don't go out to look at properties without your agent. Get the contact info and ask your agent to check on the property for you. Your agent will represent you and have your best interests at heart. Always take your agent with you when you go to a builder's models, or to view a FSBO. Your agent will be able to ask important questions on your behalf that you may not have thought about. You will get representation and you won't pay for it as your agent will be compensated by the seller's agent.
If you find the house you want to buy before you've sold your home, and the seller is reluctant to sign a contract with you with the contingency that you sell your home first, you may draw up a contract that allows the seller to continue marketing and advertising the property yet gives you the "first right of refusal" should they receive another offer. This way you will be notified immediately if the seller has another offer, giving you an opportunity to re-offer if necessary. Another option is to put a non-refundable deposit on the property. This shows the sellers that you are serious about buying their property.
If you feel the property may be overpriced, yet the seller refuses a lower offer: Make your offer contingent upon the property appraising for the selling price or higher.
Make the time frame of your offer short (24 hours or less) so the seller has less time to "shop the bid" among other interested parties, or to accept another offer. Also, don't make the deadline time at midnight unless you usually are awake at that time!
If you don't know much about building construction, don't worry. Simply make your offer contingent upon the property passing a professional home inspection. This is also an excellent way to become more familiar with the upkeep needs of your future home.
Put everything in writing. Your sales contract should spell out whether the washer and dryer stay, etc.