10 House Hunting Mistakes Not To Make
We're talking about the top 10 house-hunting mistakes you don't want to make—and what you should do instead. Check out this real estate advice from those who know best and let Century 21 Action be your Topsail realty experts. Need help house-hunting locally in the Topsail area? We can help!
WHAT NOT TO DO....
Don't make these house-hunting mistakes that will cost you time, money and regret in the long run.
1. NOT BEING PRE-APPROVED
Not being pre-approved for a mortgage is really saying that you're not really serious about buying a home. It also puts you at a disadvantage when it comes to making an offer on a home since most sellers are going to expect you to be pre-qualified. If you're trying to competitively bid on a house, then someone with pre-approval is going to be one step ahead of you. In addition to improving your odds of making a winning offer, 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.
2. NOT HAVING A REAL ESTATE AGENT
In a competitive housing market, you want to have all the advantages in your favor. House hunting with a qualified and experienced real estate agent is a given here. A good real estate agent will not only be the first to see when new listings come up, but they might even know about listings that haven’t even hit the market yet, especially if they're well-networked in the area (which they should be). 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 try and narrow down your prospects before you start house shopping because looking at all different types of properties will slow down the entire house-hunting process. It’s fine to consider many types of properties at first to get a sense of your options, but try to focus in on what you really want before you fill your weekends with home tours. Shop smarter not harder!
4. WAITING TOO LONG TO SEE A HOME
In a tight housing market, if your real estate agent calls you about a new listing—do whatever you can to see it as soon as you can. Waiting even a day can make the difference between getting the house or not. You don't want to miss your window of opportunity or a chance of seeing your potential dream home for yourself.
5. GETTING TOO MANY OPINIONS
Getting an unbiased second opinion on major life decisions and purchases can be a wise endeavor. However, be sure that you're not getting clouded by too many wanted (or unwanted) opinions of others, who are most likely looking through their own lens of experiences and perspective. They may envy that big backyard but they won't be the ones who have to mow it!
6. RUSHING THROUGH OPEN HOUSES
To get a real sense of a house, you must explore it in detail—and an open house is the ideal time. Go ahead and open the closets and pantry cabinets to ensure you have checked out every nook and cranny. Even though you'll eventually have an inspection, use the open house as an opportunity to note any red flags you may want to follow up on. Take a closer look at windows, flip on the light switches, and inspect the floors. This is your chance to get up-close-and-personal with the home and what it offers, so make the most of it.
7. FOCUSING ON APPEARANCE
Does the house look amazing at first glance? Sometimes you have to look a little closer. As you’re house hunting, look carefully for signs that indicate a rush job (e.g., gaps between new flooring and the walls; paint spatters on light switches, outlets, and windows). Also take note of the brands and materials used. The appliances, faucets, lights, and other fixtures often look great just because they are new, but sometimes they are lower-quality options that won’t stand the test of time.
8. SEEKING PERFECTION
If you’re hoping to find the perfect-size house in the perfect neighborhood with every amenity that you've dreamed of—keep on dreaming. That's not reality. It's rare to get everything you want no matter what the scenario, and home shopping is no different. Focus on what really matters most to you and your family, and then be willing to settle for less than perfection. You can always change the things you don't like, but think about the things you can't change like the neighborhood, school system and other factors outside of your control. The rest can be modified to your preferences over time.
9. LOVING THE STAGING 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, and chances are you’re probably not going to be able to replicate the look once you move in. Make sure you are envisioning yourself in the home and falling in love with the house itself, not just the house the way it’s staged.
10. 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. Notice whether the neighborhood is quiet or bustling; whether it attracts families or not; and whether it fits your family feel. Also check for local shops, restaurants, or parks with amenities that are important to you—and the proximity to the things that matter most in your day-to-day life.
WHAT TO DO....
Now that you know what NOT to do, here are some great house-hunting tips from HGTV offering some advice on what you should do. Consider this your House Hunting 101 course.
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