Starting your home search is an exciting process, but there are six specific mistakes that you must avoid making if you want to close on your dream home.
Here are the six things you must never ever do when searching for a home. Committing just one of these mistakes can possibly ruin your home purchase.
1. Don’t start without a Realtor. This is first on the list because it’s arguably the most important. A Realtor will have your best interests in mind. Plus, the Realtor you choose will sit you down, show you the whole home search process, and explain how it works. It’s a little bit more involved than going to a car dealership and one of the salesman saying, “Let me talk to the manager and see if I can get that price knocked down for you.” There are many steps to follow, and you want someone who has your best interests at heart involved with you.
2. Don’t deal with an online lending service or a lender who isn’t local. Make sure you deal with a local lender. I know those online lending services can look awfully nice and they can promise a lot of things, but if something goes wrong awry on the 11th hour prior to you closing on your loan and getting your dream house, you’re stuck trying to dial an 800 number instead of being able to walk into an office, look your lender in the eye, and telling them there’s a problem that needs to be fixed.
3. Don’t lowball every offer. If you’re looking at properties priced between $200,000 and $300,000, don’t think that you’ll get one of those properties for $50,000 off. You need the seller to work with you throughout the sale of the house, including during the inspection phase, so it’s a bad idea to offend them with a lowball offer.
4. Don’t underestimate your budget. If you talk to a local lender who approves you for up to $200,000 but you tell your Realtor that you’re only interested in looking at homes around $115,000 and $125,000, that’s a huge difference in price range. This means you’ll see homes with different amenities in different locations, and you might not find a home with the amenities you like in a location you desire, and vice versa. Be financially feasible and understand what you want. Talk to your Realtor and your financial provider and work out a plan that works with your budget.
5. Don’t forget the closing costs and prepaids. These are things that can be negotiated (see rule No. 1), and you need to understand what it will cost you prior to actually closing on your home. Closing costs and prepaids can qualify as their own topic, so if you have any questions regarding them, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
6. Don’t make any large purchases prior to purchasing your home. It’s a toss-up between this rule and rule No. 1 as far as which is most important. Not making any large purchases means, among other things, no purchasing of any cars or any car leases. Also, don’t co-sign anything for anybody because, financially, you’re the one that’s on the hook. Once you qualify for a loan and start searching for a house, you’ll get all sorts of things in the mail. Put those aside and ask your Realtor and/or financial provider about them so you know what you’re getting into. A large purchase can disrupt your home buying plans, so ask questions before you move forward.
If you have any more questions about how to conduct your home search or you or anyone you know is thinking about buying, selling, or investing in real estate, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to help you.