Started the day rather early -- well, early for me anyway. Had the free hotel breakfast. Then the buyer's agent came to the hotel to take me on a tour of the houses on my list. I had 6 houses on my list and he added 2 more. So we went to each house to see every room, the front and back yards, and the plumbing, heating, and boiler systems. There were some interesting quirks in some of the houses that were not disclosed in the listings. One place had a watermelon patch in the backyard. (Not the house I chose, incidentally.) Another place turned out to be the former home of a deceased lady so there was grandmotherly stuff all over the place. (I didn't pick that one either.)
I actually knew which one to pick from the listings alone. I just needed to do the home viewings to make sure I wasn't crazy and to make sure none of the other houses beat it in some way. It's a house that the seller never lived in. However, the seller has been busy updating the house. It has new central air, boiler, heater, appliances, windows, garden shed, bathroom fixtures, and carpeting. Basically, everything there has been redone and never used. Central air is a plus. Only 2 houses on the list had that. The only thing that's not up to par is the lawn but I would put down new soil and reseed it anyway. Other positives: There's a one-year warranty on the house and possibly longer on the central air since it's new. It's near a Wawa store and near shopping on two major roads. There is easy access to two interstate highways (I-295 and I-495) and the Delaware Memorial Bridge. (for when I have to go back to New Jersey)
Then we went to the agent's office to draw up the contract. The way I decided on an offer price was simple. I took the lowest price from the list and that's what I offered. I wanted to see if the seller would match the best deal and he did! In not much time, I got a cashier's check from the bank to make an escrow deposit and we had a signed agreement to settle in about 35 days. Not every deal goes this smoothly, the buyer's agent told me.
Tomorrow's another big day. We've arranged a home inspection in the morning to see what, if anything, needs fixing. Also doing radon and lead paint testing for the sake of completeness.