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What to Avoid as a Homebuyer

Buying a home is a definite process; one that works best if you’re an informed homebuyer  and know what to avoid.  There are things that can go wrong, but there are also things that can go right, leaving you with your dream home.

  • Caring too much about (fixable) aesthetics: Almost everything is fixable and changeable in a house. Unless it would bust your budget to fix, don’t get too caught up in those fixable things, especially if it’s something as simple as the light fixtures or paint in a room.
  • Waiting too long to take action: If you are sure you’ve found the home you want, then don’t wait too long to make an offer, especially if it’s currently a competitive market. If too much time passes between seeing a house and and making an offer, the seller may not take it as seriously.
  • Ignoring what the seller/s want and need: Buying a house is different from any other kind of business deal in that the seller of the “product” has to choose you. Sellers have different motivations for selling a house, whether it be for money or another reason. Your Realtor will attempt to fully understand the sellers’ reasoning and what they want out of the transaction so they can help you “win” the house.
  • Talking to seller/s without your Realtor present: The other “team” is not your enemy, so try and avoid that mindset. However, it’s better to communicate with your Realtor, who then communicates with the sellers’ agent. Don’t talk with the sellers directly, because if you agree on something in person, it won’t be the same legally as it would on paper and through your agents.
  • Low-balling a counteroffer: Don’t be too stingy. The stingier you are as a homebuyer, the harder it will be to get the bid on the house; you can be rejected, or unnecessarily lengthen the process of counter-offering. The best way to go about it is to make an offer not too far off from what you would actually pay. You’ll have a more realistic and appropriate price point to go on.
  • Being rude or too emotional: We get it, once you’re comfortable with the process of seeing houses and dealing with offers and counter-offers, it may be getting easier for your feelings to just slip out. However, stay polite to the agents and other people involved in the deal when you talk about the house, the financial aspects, and really everything in general. You wouldn’t want your mood and manners (or lack of) as a homebuyer to make a deal head south.
  • Always looking for a better deal: The market is always changing, and it’s never going to be the same as tomorrow. There could be a “better deal” later on, but on the other hand, the house that you really like could be sold before you make up your mind. If you do your research about the house, the area it’s in, and have a Realtor who will make counter-offers, then you should be set to get the appropriate price for a home.
  • Falling in love at first sight: “Fools rush in”- Probably coined by a homebuyer who quickly bought a house before doing their due diligence and had to learn the hard way. Even if you  think you LOVE the first house you look at, be sure to look at at least a few more in case you don’t know what you’re missing.
  • Overpaying: This fits in with the above rule in some cases; if your emotional attachment to a certain house overshadows your sense of practicality, you can end up overpaying.
  • Assuming a short sale or foreclosure is a deal: A slashed price tag may seem like a great deal; however, you may actually overpay for a short sale or a foreclosure in the long run. Be sure to hire a great Realtor who knows their way around the current local and national housing market. They will know the appropriate price for each property.
  • Forgetting about added costs: Home maintenance, utilities, property taxes, insurance, etc. are things that you need to remember before you make  a budget for the house you’ll buy.
  • Forgetting to get everything in writing and on file: Appliances, fixtures, etc. are things that could either stay or go, depending on what’s in writing. Be careful not to just assume that you’ll own everything that was in the house after you close.
  • Skipping the inspection: First of all, know that an inspection and an appraisal are not the same thing. An inspection can save you a lot of money in the long run; many things may not be visibly in need of repair, yet would cost you lots to fix over time. Don’t be a homebuyer that misses the important details!
  • Busting your budget by buying all new things for your new home or paying for a house you can’t afford: First of all, don’t spend what you can’t afford on a house. On that same hand, don’t think that just because you bought a new house means you “need” all new furniture to fill it.

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