6 House-Hunting Mistakes to Avoid
Buying a house is the most significant investment most of us will ever make. If this is your first home purchase, you are probably a little uncertain about where to start. As anxious as you may be to find your dream home, it’s a good idea to take a step back and tactically tackle the process.
Homebuyers make some common missteps that are easily avoided with the right knowledge and proper expectations. Even seasoned home buyers can fall victim to simple, avoidable errors. Let’s take a look at some house hunting mistakes to avoid.
What Not To Do Before Buying a House
1. Not knowing what you can afford.One of the biggest mistakes homebuyers make is not consulting a lender before they begin looking for a home. This is especially important in a seller’s market. When properties are selling fast, you must have your ducks in a row.
That starts with a pre-approval from your lender. That information not only gives you confirmation about how much house you can afford, but it also lets a seller know that you’re serious and qualified to purchase their home.
2. Not picking the right agent.There are thousands of agents from which to choose. Selecting the one that’s right for you could take some research. Don’t be afraid to interview a few before making a decision. Some things to consider are:
- Personality. Do the agent’s personality and selling style work for you? You must click with your agent as you’ll be putting considerable trust in their ability to advocate for you.
- Results. Ask potential agents to show you their stats and results. You’ll want an agent with a proven track record of success. Make sure they are active and not just selling real estate on the side. This is a full-time job, and you need a full-time commitment.
- Area knowledge. If a prospective agent has to Google the neighborhood, community, or city where you’re interested in buying, that’s a red flag. You want to work with an area expert.
3. Becoming emotionally invested.
There’s no question that buying a home is an emotional experience. With that in mind, it’s important to remember that it’s primarily a substantial financial investment. Many homebuyers make the mistake of getting emotionally attached to property without thoroughly vetting its pros and cons.
When emotions get involved, people tend to compromise on important issues without fully considering the consequences. Some examples of this include:
- Ignoring major issues. You may love the layout, neighborhood, etc., but are you overlooking any structural or safety issues? Try to take a step back and do your due diligence before committing.
- Loving the house, not the neighborhood. It’s easy to fall in love with a home when you can see yourself living there. Be sure to consider the big picture. Do you like the neighborhood? Are the schools up to your expectations? Is it safe? Regardless of how much you love the property, don’t let that cloud your judgment regarding other essential factors.
4. Thinking short-term.
It’s easy to look at a home and see how it will fit your immediate needs. Since this is a place you could potentially want to live in for a long time, make sure you anticipate future needs. You may be planning to grow your family.
Will this home accommodate that? No one can predict the future, but do try and anticipate future needs.
5. Focusing on cosmetics.
A major mistake many home buyers make is getting hung up on a home’s aesthetics rather than looking at its potential. Paint, flooring, and fixtures are all easily changed. Do you have a remodel budget? If so, don’t even look at the cosmetics.
Instead, look at how you can make the home your own. Does the layout work for you? What about the yard? Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms? Will the home suit your lifestyle? If you’re a big entertainer or have a large family, is there room to host? These are the essential factors to consider. Don’t worry about the parts that are easily remedied.
6. Liking the neighborhood more than the home.
Don’t compromise on desired neighborhoods because you love a house. Remember the essential tenet in real estate- location, location, location. It doesn’t matter what you do to customize a home if it’s not in a neighborhood where you can see yourself living.
Paying attention to what not to do before buying a house will save you a lot of time and disappointment. Rely on the experts to help you define your budget, home features, and desired neighborhood, and you’ll be well on your way to finding your perfect home.