Buying a home is like searching for a mate. You’ll go on many first dates and in the end, the one that has the most, but maybe not all of the characteristics that you want will win your heart. You may also find yourself drinking more than usual but that’s beside the point.
Just like dating, some homebuyers are disappointed by how long the process takes without understanding how their expectations, beliefs, and lack of action may be causing the delay in finding the right home. (Don’t read too much into the lack of action part in regards to dating).
Here are a few pitfalls that buyers can fall into causing them to let the right home slip by.
Seeing a home “as-is.” We don’t mean that buyers should not view homes on the market that are listed for sale “as-is” but rather not being able to see beyond the “as-is” home. As was the case when I met my husband – I could see that he just needed a haircut and some new fashions and then he was good to go! In other words, some buyers walk into a home and are immediately turned off by something as simple as the paint color, carpet, or wallpaper – which can all be easily changed. Regardless, when buyers see the home “as-is” without the ability to envision it differently, they do themselves a huge disservice and fall into a pitfall of thinking that the home is not right simply because of the condition they are currently seeing it in.
Not working with an expert agent. Buyers can weed through the newspaper and click around the interwebs looking for open houses and listings but a quality agent can help identify the best-suited properties much faster. Agents also often know about homes before they are listed, or ones that are completely off-market. It’s worth it to spend time interviewing agents to find the right one who can help you find the right home. If you fall into the pitfall of trying to do everything on your own, you’re likely going to miss seeing some of the houses that might offer the best match for your wants and needs. Also keep in mind that sites like Zillow are fed listings automatically from the MLS and homes can take up to three days to appear. In this market, three days is often too late to make a move.
Letting the important things slide. We’ve all done this when making an expensive purchase or picking a date. We compromise on something that is important simply because it’s less expensive or it fits all of the other must-haves and later we regret it. When you’re making large purchases, you need to know which things are important and non-negotiable and stick to that list. Of course, there may be some small, less important things that you’ll compromise on – like my husband who really wanted to marry a girl whose father owned a liquor store and backhoe. Sorry bud. You’re going to have to give up something but if you compromise on something big that is important to you, you’re likely going to be disappointed down the road.
Living strictly in the moment. When you’re buying a home, you better be thinking about the future. What’s good for you today will likely need to be good for you for at least two years to come. So, do your homework to find the right home. Work with your agent to find out how the neighborhood is changing. What are future plans for the community? Pay attention to the congestion of an area and to the types of retail shops and restaurants that are coming into the community, and compare that to your future plans. You can’t always know what lies ahead but many times you can see what types of projects have been proposed for undeveloped land in the area.
Skipping an inspection. Inspections are critical. They’re the equivalent of picking a date based solely on looks – and most of the time we know how that ends. Just like you don’t want to end up with a lemon for a spouse, you don’t want a home that has too many costly repairs. Inspections give you a “health” check of the home. They let you know what you’re in for should you buy the home. You’ll be glad you have a report to help validate your reasons for wanting purchase this home over others.