10 Common Home Buyer Mistakes To Avoid

By Christianne Child

Whether you're on the buying end or the selling end of a real estate deal, there's a whole lot of money riding on the outcome. Listed here are a few common mistakes and how you might avoid making them yourself.

In all of my time working in the Guelph Real Estate industry, I've come across the same painful mistakes that people make again and again. A little research can help you to avoid making these costly mistakes.

Selecting an agent with whom you do not connect, or who is not committed to learning and meeting your needs.
You real estate agent will serve as your voice throughout much of the home search and sales process. Be careful to select an agent who genuinely cares about meeting your needs, and with whom you feel you can communicate well. A misunderstanding or disagreement at any point in the process - even after you've made the purchase - can be a source of some serious heartache and regret.

Failing to get pre-qualified.
In today's market, heading to the bank or mortgage company to be pre-qualified should be one of your first steps when you start thinking about buying a home. The process is relatively painless, and can help you to get a realistic picture of what sort of home you can really afford. Pre-qualification signals to sellers and agents that you're ready to find your dream home, and that you have no interest in wasting time.

Misunderstanding the total price tag.
When hunting around for homes, ask your real estate agent to discuss closing costs with you - beyond a simple down-payment, there are often many costs, taxes, and fees that can creep up on you, totaling hundreds or even thousands of additional dollars. Earnest money, inspections, title insurance, and legal fees add up quickly, and should be a part of your planning process from the beginning. There's nothing more upsetting than having an offer accepted and finding that you can't pull the cash together to seal the deal.

Making your search too narrow.
By and large, every other consumer out there has access to the same publications, search engines, and bulletin boards that you do. Because of this, in many markets, homes that show up through these mediums will be snapped up before you even catch wind of them. A qualified real estate agent has access to listings the very moment they hit the market, and long before most consumers catch wind of them. Armed with your specific requirements, a good agent will make a quick connection, and have you opening the front door for a walk-through before other buyers even know about the property.

Believing in one PERFECT dream home.
Purchasing a home is not about soul-mates, nor is it about love at first site. Home buying is a process that involves a lot of careful consideration and a process of elimination. One week, you may not find something that meets you needs and budget in a neighborhood where you'd like to live. The next week, there may be three such homes on the market. Patience and careful thought are required to ensure success.

Thinking in the short-term.
A home may be perfect for you now, but what if your family grows? Will the house still be perfect next year? How about in five or ten more years? Real estate is a long-term investment in your future, and purchasing a home is not something to be done lightly. Think ahead to ensure you won't be facing buyer's remorse down the road.

Failing to do your homework.
Looking at a home in the fall tells you little bout whether the basement floods, just as inspecting a house on a quiet weekday afternoon tells you little about the neighbor who works on his hot-rod all weekend, gunning the engine while you try to nap. How are the schools serving the neighborhood? Is there a safe place to learn to ride a bike? Is the house in a flood plane or evacuation zone? You need answers to these questions before proceeding with an offer to purchase. Don't be shy - walk right up to neighbors, knock on doors, take a look at local disaster plans. If you make an offer on a property, you want to do so with your eyes wide open.

Skipping the inspection.
Home inspectors make a good portion of their living doing pre-purchase inspections. You may feel that the money that they charge for the work would better serve you as part of the down-payment, but you'd be sorely mistaken. A home inspector brings a trained eye to the job - the kind of eye that can spot black mold at a hundred yards, and identify faulty plumbing in an instant. Skimping on your home inspection may seem like a money-saver, but will end up costing you a bundle in home repairs in the future.

Overlooking insurance considerations
The last thing you want to do when meeting with real estate agents, bankers, inspectors, and lawyers is to sit down with yet another person interested in taking your money. That said, discussing insurance premiums and coverage levels on a home prior to making a purchase will help you to put together a much clearer picture of your financial needs, and may point out a few risk factors that you never considered.

Opting against a home protection plan.
In the event that even your home inspector misses an important repair or issue with the home prior to your purchase, you can be left with huge repair bills for an unanticipated issue. A home protection plan, which you can arrange through your real estate agent or mortgage company, is a short-term insurance plan to hedge against just this sort of unforeseen issue - usually for a period of one year from closing. The premiums are low, and the benefits (should you need them) are priceless.

Christianne is a Guelph Real Estate Agent with HomeLife Realty Limited Brokerage. Everybody who knows Christianne knows that her professional focus has always centered around Customer Service Excellence. Contact her about any property that is in the MLS Guelph listings.

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