Home buying is a roller coaster of a process. There are the lows of disappointment and frustration, but also the incredible high of finding and moving into the perfect house for your family. Buying a home can also be very tricky and you need the right tools in order to navigate the waters well.
There are a lot of home buyer mistakes, particularly made by first time home buyers, that end up costing them big money or disappointing them – don’t be one of them! Take a look at the common home buyer mistakes below so you can be prepared for your own real estate experience!
Not hiring a realtor or getting one soon enough
Too many people think that they can find a house on their own. And while there are a ton of tools out there now like Redfin and Zillow to help you search for houses you want to see, nothing beats having an actual in-the-flesh realtor to help you out. Realtors often know about houses that haven’t even come on the market yet and almost always have important insights on any house you visit. This is their trade and it’s their job to know the ins and outs of the real estate market. They can find homes that fit your budget and needs, give great advice, especially when it comes to if the house would be good to buy and how resellable it is, and are CRUCIAL when it comes down to making the offer and negotiating all the nuances that come with it. Realtors can also specialize in certain areas like foreclosures or short sales, so if you are looking for a house like that, it is best to find someone who knows their stuff in that area. Our realtor was David Bhak with John L. Scott and he was absolutely phenomenal. He made the process easy, showed us awesome houses, gave great advice and killed it when it came to negotiations. Check him out at http://www.davidbh.johnlscott.com/
Guessing at how much you can afford
Another tool that may hinder you more than help you are the online mortgage payment/how much house you can afford calculators. I used one when I was first starting to dream about houses and the calculator gave me an number that was actually way off. I was using that quote to find houses and later found out we couldn’t afford them! Talk about a heartbreaker. Go to your local bank or a private mortgage lender (preferable) to work through how much you really can afford.
Not getting pre-qualified or pre-approved right away
In the same vein as above, once you affirm that you are serious about buying a house, immediately go and get pre-qualified or pre-approved. Once you have this approval, sellers will know you are serious and are more likely to accept your offer. Some real estate agents won’t even take you to look at houses before you have the pre-approval in your hand! We used Dan Keller at Mortgage Advisory Group, and he and his team were completely amazing. They worked with us to get all our financial information in order, even when things on our end got complicated and they were always willing to do what it takes to get everything written up in a timely matter. They were there with us every step of the way and got us a great interest rate and were so much more personal than a bank where you are just a paper in a stack. It really does make all the difference! Check them out at www.mymortgageguydan.com
Letting the charm of a house cloud your judgement
This is an easy one to fall subject to. You go to an open house and it. Is. Perfect. You love the open concept layout, the fancy tiling, the wood floors are pristine, and that little nook under the window is just too adorable! It is reaaaaaallly easy to get charmed by a house, especially if the seller has it staged well. You say “let’s get it!” but what you didn’t notice is that it’s on a really busy, noisy street or that the house next door looks like a drug dealer lives there. Watch out! Take a step back and make sure you take all factors into account and ask your realtor what he thinks before putting in an offer.
Waving the home inspection
Buying a house is already expensive. Yep. So a lot of people think they can save some cash and have their offer be more likely accepted by the seller if they wave the home inspection. Sure, you might make your offer look more attractive to the seller, but it really isn’t worth it in the long run. Home inspections find out crucial information about the house that isn’t readily visible to the naked eye. A house may look perfect, but if it has a crumbling foundation, or faulty wiring or plumbing, you could end up shelling out a lot more to fix the problems once you’ve bought the house if you didn’t know beforehand. With the home inspection, you find out the problems with the house BEFORE you put out all that money and that way you can either decide if it’s worth it or not, or negotiate with the sellers so they pay some of the repair costs so you don’t have to! We used A-Team Inspection, and they were super thorough and nice and gave us honest advice about what really needed to be fixed and what could wait. Check them out at http://ateam-inspection.com/
Making big purchases or life-changes before buying a house
This is a big no-no. You may really want that new Subaru to go with your new house or you are so sick of your job that you just want to find a new one. Some advice? Don’t do it! Banks and lenders are going to be watching your spending pretty closely as you move through the pre-approval to closing process. Lenders like to see that you are stable and will be able to pay for your new house over time. Making big purchases or life changes during this process throws up a red flag for the people who will be giving you the money and could potentially cause problems. The same goes for putting large deposits of money in the bank, say like birthday money or cashing bonds. They will want to know where that money came from and why it’s there! Hold off until your house closes and the keys are in your hand before you go down to the car dealership.
Not considering resale potential and value
Even if you think you’ll be in your new home the next 20 years, it’s always important to consider the resale and value potential of any house that you are looking at. It’s easy to fall in love with a house, but what you love may not be what everyone else loves. This is similar to not letting the charm of your house cloud your judgement. If you end up with a difficult to sell house, it could really bite you later on when you decide to move. Will this house be a good contender to be sold again, amidst all the other houses in the area? Consider this carefully before signing the papers!
All of these valuable tips were learned and gathered as me and my husband went through our own house-hunting process! After putting them all into play, we ended up with a home we really loved in a great area that will also have great resale value whenever we decide to move. You too, can have the same! Follow the advice above and happy house hunting!
Are these tips helpful? Have you already put some into play? I’d love to hear what has worked and hasn’t worked in your home buying journey!