Buying a home can be exciting, overwhelming, and fatiguing all at the same time. With a sizable investment at stake, volumes of information to digest, and emotional decisions to make, the buying process can quickly go from enjoyable to drudgery. And this is the point at which buyers start taking shortcuts “just to get it over with”.
A bad decision is not always apparent immediately and may come back to haunt you years later. I have outlined My Top Five Mistakes That Buyers Make when they become tired, overwhelmed or just plain in a hurry with the buying process.
1-Forget about the resale. Most buyers think they’ll be in a new home forever and never consider a future move. Promotions, salary increases, job losses, disability and death may have an effect on family’s decision to stay. At some point, either you or your heirs will sell your house … and you want to be sure it will sell and that it will sell at a fair price. The old adage: Location, location, location does matter. SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? Never buy a home without thinking about resale. Homes with inferior locations or fatal flaws will only sit on the market or you’ll have to reduce the price to the point where you’re “giving” it away.
2-Not getting pre-approved for financing. If you don’t know how much you can afford, you are wasting everybody’s time. SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? Getting pre-approved is quite simple. You provide the lending institution with the most current pay stubs, financial statements, and tax returns. The lender will check your credit, verify employment, and determine how much they’ll lend you. A pre-approval will tell you how much you can borrow, how much you need for the down payment and closing costs, and how much your monthly payments will be. You’ll also get a document that demonstrates to sellers that you can get financing thereby makes your offer much stronger than those that didn’t get pre-approved.
3-Not listing your specific requirements before you start house hunting. Finding a home is simple but finding the right home is a lot of work. Many buyers start looking before they’ve thought through what important features they want in their next home. They think “they’ll know it when they see it”. Viewing homes is exhausting and if your Realtor knows exactly what you want, she can show you only homes that meet your criteria saving you from wasting your day. It is just too time consuming and tiring to look at everything – and often results in buyers fatigue. You’ll either end up making a rash decision or you’ll have analysis paralysis. WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? Write down and prioritize features that you have to have and that you’d like to have. Include external features such as schools, driving distance to work, and neighborhoods, and internal features such as number of bedrooms, a basement, and how much work you’re willing to take on or if you prefer a move-in ready home. Remember, your list is alive! Your prioritized features will move up and down in importance but you won’t be wasting your time looking at homes that don’t even come close.
4-Skip the Inspection. To save money, many buyers will forego a formal inspection or a buyer may try to do his own. Inspectors are licensed for a reason. They are trained to not only find the obvious problems, but will identify potential problems you can’t see or aren’t obvious such problems as in the foundation, electrical wiring, plumbing, or heating systems. In addition, an inspection will allow you to make an informed decision about whether to continue with the purchase or terminate the contract. SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? Spend the extra money for an inspection. If there are serious problems, the cost to repair them may easily be greater than the cost of the inspection. In most real estate transactions, you can negotiate with the seller to pay for the repairs in order to keep the deal alive. In this case, you probably just saved yourself thousands of dollars in exchange for an inspection costing a few hundred.
5-Not using a Realtor. OK. So this is a plug why you should let me help you with your real estate transaction. With so many pieces of the buying process that have to fit together, using a Realtor is a requirement for a smooth transaction. A Realtor helps you with the loan process, helps you narrow your choice of homes, negotiates on your behalf, assists with all the paperwork and contracts, prepares your offer, and insure that you are protected with the right contingencies. SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? Get yourself good Realtor. She will know the area where you want to buy, she is a committed professional and not selling real estate as a part-time job, and should have a personality that fits your style as you’ll be spending a lot of time with her. Trying to go it alone can be frustrating and very unproductive, and a good Realtor will have your interests at heart.