You’ve been thinking about settling down and buying a home for a while now, and you finally think you’re ready.
Now it’s time to tour some digs! But hold up—you need a game plan.
So, before you hit the trail, make sure you’re aware of some classic mistakes to avoid. We promise, it’ll mean happy hunting from here on out.
1. Not arming yourself with a mortgage pre-approval
Nothing screams “I’m not really serious” like going to look at houses without being pre-approved for a mortgage.
That’s because a seller will not entertain an offer without a pre-approval. And that means you can kiss your chance at a promising property goodbye, there are plenty of other buyers with pre-approvals in hand.
A pre-approval also lets you know exactly how much mortgage you qualify for, so that you won’t waste time looking at properties you can’t afford.
Want to learn more why arming yourself with a mortgage pre-approval is important? Check out my video on YouTube, Home Loan Pre-Approval, why it should be your first step when buying a home. Here’s the link: https://youtu.be/E6HNWmVlNII
2. House hunting without an agent
By all means, start out by looking online at pictures of pretty houses—the more the better. It’s a vastly useful way to get the lay of the land. But when it comes time to get serious about buying a house, you should find a professional to help you out.
A buyer’s agent can also help you avoid costly negotiating mistakes when it comes time to make an offer.
3. Not knowing what you want
It’s important to make a wish list before you start shopping, because looking at extremely different types of properties will slow down the process.
It’s fine to consider many types of properties at first to get a sense of your options, but try to narrow them down before you fill your weekends with home tours.
4. Waiting too long to see a home
In this tight market, if your real estate agent calls you about a new listing, do whatever you can to see it right away! Waiting even a day can make the difference between getting the house or not.
5. Expecting perfection
If you’re hoping to find the perfect-size house in the perfect neighborhood with the main-floor laundry room you want and the best schools, at a price you can afford, you can dream on.
Two out of three isn’t bad, It’s rare to get everything you want in any area of life, and home shopping is no different. Focus on what’s most important to you.
6. Falling in love with the decor—not the home
So, you’re dazzled as soon as you walk in the door. But is it the house that’s winning you over? Or the decor?
It’s a home stager’s job to make you swoon, make sure you are envisioning yourself in the home and falling in love with the house itself, not the house the way it’s staged.
7. Ignoring the neighborhood
When you tour a home, make sure you save some time to tour the neighborhood as well. The last thing you want is to be in a beautiful home in a nightmare neighborhood.
Once you’ve checked for any red flags, take some time to get the overall vibe of the community and make sure it’s right for you.
8. Don’t make ridiculously lowball offers
You obviously want to get a bargain, but you could lose out on a home that you love by making an absurdly low offer. When you overlook market data and make a lowball offer, you’re pretty much slapping the seller in the face.
And if you offend the seller, they might not even be willing to make you a counteroffer. Bottom line is this: Trust your agent to help you assess the value of a house and write a winning offer.
9. Don’t forget to budget for closing costs
In this market as the home buyer, you have the (unfortunate) pleasure of paying for all of your closing costs.
Your mortgage lender should be able to give you a rough estimate of your closing costs once a seller accepts your offer, but as a rule you can estimate that they typically total 2% to 4% of the home’s purchase price.
10. Don’t make big purchases before you close
Once you have found the right house and get the seller to accept your offer, your loan still needs to go through underwriting in order for you to obtain the mortgage.
One thing underwriter’s do, is look at your credit score from the three major credit bureaus to make sure your credit hasn’t changed since you were pre-approved.
Therefore, you’ll want to avoid taking on any new debt while you’re in the process of buying a house. Like getting an auto loan or maxing out on your credit cards, this could really hurt your credit score.
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