As a real estate directory, we are very biased! The biggest mistake you can make is not choosing a great real estate agent! A full-time agent that knows the area, the practices of other agents and the inventory (meaning they know the homes inside the neighborhoods well enough to actually tell you common problems in each), can save you time and a lot of money.
However, I’m guessing you want a more unbiased answer than that! Here are the common mistakes that home buyers make when looking for that perfect home.
1. Not Getting A Home Inspection
It doesn’t matter what kind of home it is, condo, new construction, resale or your Mama’s house… get it inspected. Inspectors look for problems and they find them! Not only that, a good ASHI certified inspector will often give you a report with the age of appliances and some even give expected life and maintenance suggestions.
Inspection reports also double as an item of leverage vs the seller when negotiating. For less than $500 you can often get new items, have broken items fixed or get a sizable discount (relative to the cost).
2. Not Shopping Third Party Services
Statistically, most home buyer and home seller choose the first vendor they talk to. Whether that’s a real estate agent, mortgage person or inspector. Meanwhile, one of the best things you can do is interview these key players in the real estate transaction
Is there a difference between a real estate agent that closes 5 homes a year and 50 homes a year? You bet! However, you’d never know it if you don’t interview.
3. Not Working Within A Housing Budget
If you’ve been renting it usually makes sense to buy a home. However, a lot of buyers just call up the mortgage company (or worse use an app!) and see how much money they can get vs what they can afford. It’s very common to see first time home buyers end up “house poor” where they can’t afford to furnish the home.
4. Not Driving The Neighborhood Routes
If you make this mistake you’ll likely want to sell your home as fast as you fell in love. Once you find a home and put it under contract, take the time (the due diligence period if possible) to drive from the home to your work place. Drive around and see how far the home is to your church, school and grocery.
5. Not Visiting The Schools
If you don’t have kids and never want kids and aren’t doing anything that could produce kids then this skipping this step might not be a big deal. For everyone else, it’s worth checking out the school. How well is it run, what’s the demographics there? A school can tell you a lot about the direction of the area.
6. Not Including Non-Decision Making VIPs
One of the biggest mistake everyone makes when selling a home or buying one is that they usually include very important people (aka Mom, Dad, Uncle Joe) at the very last minute. These well meaning advice givers will likely go into protective “mama bear” overdrive and want to cancel any deal you’re working. Unfortunately, their good intentions are misplaced due to ignorance. They haven’t seen the market or done the research. All they did was see the offer or the home and decide that you can do better. Kind of like your last love interest.
Think about the home buying process. Home buyers go see 10 homes (after eliminating 50 on the internet) and then invite the parents or Uncle Joe to see the home. The “advisor” does what they think is best and tries to protect the buyer and usually slams the home. Unfortunately, Joe hasn’t seen the 10 homes or performed an internet search. He bases his decisions on his own current perspective of their living situation. If you’re going to rely on advice, then make the person go through as much as the process as you can, if not then only rely on that person the percentage of their involvement.
Most people only move a handful of times in their life time and it’s easy to see why they would make these mistakes. Whether it’s convenience, trust or simply ignorance, first timers cost themselves THOUSANDS every year by making these mistake. Do yourself a favor and find a real estate agent near you that can help you master the process.