You've been saving for awhile, weighing your options, looking around in the papers, websites and open houses. Now you've finally decided you're ready to buy a house. The process of buying a new home is exciting and stressful both at the same time.
Where to start?
Have a Realtor help you with your homework. What is the process? How much can you afford? What area of the city would you like to live? What features in a home do you want and need?
Use the following list of pitfalls as a guide to help avoid common mistakes.
- Searching for homes without getting pre-approved by a lender
Pre-qualifications is the first step to being pre-approved. This will give you a price range of homes you can comfortably afford.
- Failing to familiarize yourself with the neighborhood before buying
Check out and drive by the neighborhoods you are thinking of buying. What amenities do they offer and what is important to you. Is it close to schools, churches, parks, bus stops and grocery stores. Some of these factors will influence the way you experience your new home and ultimately make you feel the most comfortable with your decision.
- Allowing "first impressions" overly influence your decision
When looking at homes with your Realtor, you must examine the home as objectively as you can. Look past the current owners furniture, paint and interior decor. Don't let these "easy fixes" sway your judgement. Looking past these "obstacles" will allow you to see if the home suit your needs and gives you a sound base to work with.
- Not knowing and understanding your rights and obligations in the Offer to Purchase
Your Realtor will help guide and explain your rights and obligations within a contract to help you make the ultimate decision to write an offer to buy. Lack of understanding, assumptions, missing clauses and poorly written contracts may leave you with increased costs or a void contrat that you were unaware of. Having the assistance of a Realtor and lawyer will ensure you thoroughly understand the contract you are signing and are able to fulfil your contractual obligations.
- Making an offer based on asking price, not market value
I will provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis that will give you the necessary information about comparable homes currently for sale and ones that are similar that have sold. I will show you how many days on the market that the sellers have been trying to sell their home, difference between selling and asking prices, if the home is under priced or over priced or is asking fair market value. The sellers also receive a similar analysis when deciding on their asking price, so make sure you have all the information you need when writing an offer price.
- Not recognizing different styles and strategies of negotiation
Many buyers think that the best way to negotiate their way to a fair price is by offering low. This makes many feel like they have "gotten a great deal", as we all want the greatest home for the cheapest price. However, in reality this strategy may actually result in the seller becoming more inflexible with price accepted, not accepting terms that are important to a buyer, or even not wanting to negotiate at all. Employ the knowledge and skills of a Realtor, as I will know what strategies of negotiation will prove most effective for your situation and have you become a home owner.