If you’ve ever bought a home before, you know there’s a lot to it. A purchase this big doesn’t happen often for most people, which means many people rely on home industry professionals to ensure their purchase is protected.
So who do you hire and what do you need to do before you sign off on the paperwork?
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I spend a lot of time educating first time buyers (and even second and third time buyers) about what needs to happen for a smooth purchase. That means two things: first, I walk through every aspect of their prospective purchase from roof to foundation. Second, I walk through other aspects of the purchase they might not have considered, including professionals to seek out, second opinions they may need on financing or buying, and what risks there are in any purchase.
Having been in the industry for years, I see the same mistakes being made over and over again. It hurts to see because people put their entire livelihoods into a house purchase. When it doesn’t work out, it causes a lot of stress and pain.
Here are the 5 top mistakes I’ve seen buyers make (and regret):
- Not Having an Inspection Done
Inspections are one of the most important parts of a house purchase. And I don’t just say that because I’m an inspector! It’s true. When you buy a home, you buy a lot of systems that all need to function well on their own and together. That’s a lot of room for error.
There’s also a myth that only older model homes need to be inspected. That’s not true. It doesn’t matter if the home you’re buying is brand-new or 50 years old; you should always invest in a thorough inspection. Poor building practices, weather events, and poor maintenance can happen in any house; not just old ones.
2. Not Having a Realtor
When you start your search with a realtor, it’s like having a filter on all your options. Your realtor can easily pick out homes that have major or known issues and guide you to a house that actually fits your lifestyle and needs.
When you skip a realtor, you may end up wasting more time and money on houses that don’t stack up. This can quickly become frustrating for buyers, so be sure to find a great realtor right off the bat and skip all the “problem” homes.
3. Not Shopping for Mortgage Rates
A lot of first-time buyers don’t know they can shop their mortgage lenders. They head straight for their bank and set up a mortgage without shopping around to find the best rates. That’s why I always recommend using a mortgage broker. Not only can a broker get you a better deal, but he or she can get you pre-approved, which means when you’re shopping around and investing in inspections, you already have a pretty solid guarantee your financing won’t fall through and make it all a waste of money and time.
4. Getting Swept Up in a Fixer-Upper Without Realizing the Costs
So, you found a home you love that needs a bit more love to be livable. I’ve seen this play out a few times in home inspections. Few people are truly aware of the costs,
5. Not Negotiating Enough for Repairs
A home inspection is designed to protect a buyer from purchasing a house that’s going to become a major financial liability. After a home inspection pulls up some major issues, three things can happen:
- The buyer might pull out of the sale entirely
- The buyer might request the price of the home be dropped to reflect the necessary repairs and work
- The buyer might request that work be completed before the sale goes through (as a condition of the sale)