8 Home Buyer Mistakes That Can Sabotage The Process
8 Mistakes Many Home Buyers Make When Buying A Home…
I’ve written many articles and blogs over the last decade. I have a lot to say. If you’ve worked with me in the past, you know that I sometimes talk a lot. I’m blunt, to the point and a “real” Realtor. No fluff and frills with me. I want you to know as much as possible about the home buying and selling process. I believe the more you know, the better you’ll be informed enabling you to make good decisions resulting in a smooth close.
I want to go over 8 mistakes a home buyer can make to sabotage their home purchase because buyers do these things. I don’t want you to make the same mistakes others have. So kick your feet up and read all 8. They’re important. If you’re a serious home buyer, you need to read these…
1. Staying Pre-Approved – Just because you’ve “been” pre-approved before, it is not a golden ticket for future use. You’re smart. You’ve saved up, built your credit, you’re responsible and are ready to buy a home. Make sure you don’t open any new lines of credit, don’t finance a big purchase (car, furniture, co-sign for someone, etc), don’t change jobs, don’t decrease your income and of course have no late payments until you get the keys to your new home. Not a day sooner! If you want to get into debt after you have the keys, that’s just fine and dandy. A pre, pre-approval is not valid forever. You’ll need a new one if you’ve waited too long. Everything will be re-evaluated. Interest rates change, programs change and so do lending guidelines. A fresh pre-approval with a “good” lender is best. And please go over any decisions, questions or changes with your lender throughout the process.
2. Waiting or Delaying – In today’s real estate market many areas are HOT and homes are selling quickly. It’s not the same market as yesteryear. If you see a home come on the market in the morning and it fits all your criteria or looks really great from the photos, chances are it is and others will think the same. You have to move quickly. Be prepared to see that home right away. Make sure your agent is on standby and has the flexible schedule to show you homes at almost anytime. Do not wait. That home could be sold by sunset.
3. Writing a Low-Ball Offer – Everyone wants to negotiate and wheel and deal. It’s in our blood. We were told to make a low offer just to “see” what happens. Play the back and forth game until you think you’ve won. That’s not happening right now. If your agent has run the comps and has given you a range of value, that’s likely where the home will sell if not higher. Be prepared to write a good, solid offer with fair terms. Certain contingencies will likely not fly. If you’re low balling because it’s all you can afford, you’re looking in a price range that is too high. You will just keep writing offers and losing out on great homes. There’s no guarantee a home like that will be for sale anytime soon. Inventory is low in many markets in Northeast, Ohio. If you see a home you know is right, buy it or be okay with losing it to other home buyers.
4. Asking For The World – In your offer to purchase, you have the right to ask for lots of things from the sellers; closing costs, pre-paids, house sale contingency, repairs, appliances, personal belongings or furniture, long closing dates, different inspections, etc. You can ask for any or all of these things, but realize that in today’s market or in any market where the home is priced right and in great condition, there may be others eyeing up the same home. You will want your offer to be fair and ideally good for you AND good for the seller. Sometimes, (you won’t want to hear this), you have to have the offer and terms weigh in favor of the seller. It’s not all about price. A lower offer from another buyer may be the offer that is accepted. Perhaps their offer was cleaner and didn’t involve as many requests.
5. Nit-Picking The Home Inspection – Every home inspector will give you a large report about the home you’re going to buy. It will be filled with numerous items. Your goal is to focus on the large repairs or issues. Every home is sold as-is and unless your mortgage loan requires certain repairs or certifications, it’s not the seller’s role or yours necessarily to repair everything or anything for that matter. Some home buyers expect everything to be done on the home inspection report. This may not be realistic. All repairs are negotiable and the seller doesn’t have to make them or reduce the price of the home. A home inspection is for your knowledge and for you to know what the home will need once you own it. Naturally, if there are large defects or issues with the home, this will need to be addressed. Both parties will have to come to an agreement, but the seller doesn’t have to accept. There may be other buyers willing to purchase without repairs. You need to weigh up your contingency removal repair list and know what’s feasible and what is likely not.
6. Continuing to Shop – You’ve found the home you’re happy with and found all that you needed. You have a binding contract, inspections and appraisal has been completed, but you’re still looking online at the countless “national” real estate websites. This is a mistake. This is not the time to day dream, window shop or compare new homes on the market with the one you’re closing on soon. If you must browse sites and apps, make them Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot, Furniture Stores and Pinterest. Trust me, you have enough on your plate with your upcoming closing and move, you don’t need mental clouding at this time. There will always be homes new to the market, but you found YOUR home! You are happy with it so continue to love it. Shop today’s paint colors instead. It will give you more joy.
7. Working With The Wrong Realtor – Real estate agents are not all created equal. Some Realtors are just too busy being top producers to devote the time it needs to be your advocate during the process of buying a home. There are many great “top producing agents” out there, don’t get me wrong, but many will bring on buyer’s agents under their name most of which are new or inexperienced. Buying a home does not stop at getting an offer accepted. That’s where it begins. That’s where you need a good agent to know the ins and outs of the industry, the “what-ifs” and the possible negative scenarios. Believe it or not, many title companies, lenders or inspectors need a little spotlight aimed at them and a nudge during the entire escrow process. As with Realtors, not all title companies, reps or loan officers do the same “great” job. A good Realtor will know who is who and what is what. They will be able to coordinate everyone and handle timing, contract changes, title issues, etc. I could write an entire book on real estate mishaps and catastrophes. The right agent will guide you, protect you, inform you and work for your best interest throughout the entire home buying process.
8. Neglecting Your Role – So how do you know if your bank is good at home mortgages or if your Realtor is a good Realtor? There are so many out there! They all have great catchy tag-lines and all claim to be the best. You have a job to do here. You have to choose the right Realtor, lender, inspector, title company and insurance agent. If you have a great Realtor, they will be able to help recommend many of those professionals. You need to look them up online, view their testimonials, their reviews, know how long they’ve done this. (Ten plus years is a good start.) That means they have experience and have handled many scenarios.
- Is your Realtor/Lender full-time or just doing this between their other job?
- Do you know which “large” banks/lending institutions have notoriously bad reputations?
- Does your Real Estate Agent charge a “processing/administrative” fee? Why??
- Are they asking you to sign a buyer contract forcing you to work with them?
- Do you know about their brokerage?
- Did you know that RE/MAX for example ONLY brings on seasoned, experienced agents?
- Have you talked with your agent and lender multiple times?
- Do they communicate well? Return emails/calls/texts promptly? Test them!
- Do they take the time to answer all of your questions and go over the process?
- Do they have multiple people on their “team” handling your file or are THEY handling things?
Trust your gut, your instincts and interview your agent and professionals carefully. This is, after-all the largest purchase of your life and you don’t want a rookie handling the “what-ifs”, “mishaps” and possible catastrophes behind the scenes if they aren’t prepared. Your job will be a lot easier if you let your seasoned agent guide you properly. There are just too many things to know and too many steps in the process to let just anyone handle it.
So there are my 8 mistakes not to make if buying a home. If you’ve read through them all, congrats, you’re serious. You’re planning, preparing and learning before you start the process. If you’ve bought a home before, did you make any mistakes? Did you work with a professional that you weren’t happy with? I’d love to hear your comments and story below.
If you or someone you know will be buying or selling a home in the Cleveland, Ohio area now or in the future, I’d love to be interviewed! View my agent bio on my homepage, read my client testimonials, or go over the homes I’ve sold and cities I cover. Then call or email me. I’d love to discuss your goals and help you with your next move…
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