Home-Buying Mistakes

Julie and Daniel Desrochers with Desrochers Realty Group and Coldwell Banker Burnet see people make easily avoidable mistakes all the time. They stopped by to help TCL viewers avoid those same pitfalls. For a link to their website, click here.

#1: Looking at homes before you talk with a lender and get pre-approved

  • Need to figure out what you can afford, what your payments are going to be and the price range you are approved for before you look.
  • Need a pre-approval letter from a lender so when you do see a house you like you can make an offer on it and don’t miss out on it. Most sellers will not look at an offer without a pre-approval letter.
  • We see a lot of people look before they know what they are approved for, fall in love with a house and then find out the payment is more than they can afford or is higher than they are approved for.
  • Make sure you pick the right lender, not all are the same or do a good job.

#2: Lowballing when putting in offers instead of negotiating realistically

  • It currently is a sellers market so it is hard to lowball and get anywhere on an offer
  • If you like a house come in with a fair offer. A seller is more likely to negotiate with someone who is realistic as opposed to someone looking for a deal.
  • Coming in too low can have negative consequences and the seller may not even want to deal with the buyer. Negotiating is a give and take.

#3: Neglecting to have an inspection

  • We definitely think it is important to get an inspection.
  • This is most likely the biggest purchase of your life and you need to make sure there are no surprises.
  • Since it is a sellers market and there are a lot of multiple offers it is temping to remove the inspection contingency to make your offer look more attractive but it’s not worth it in the long run.
  • A professional inspector will perform in in depth analysis of the home that can point out current repairs and items that will need to be repaired in the future or are towards the end of its life. For example a roof may be currently in good shape but the inspection may reveal that it is nearing the end of its life and will most likely have to be replaced in 3 to 4 years.
  • Its important to not only have a general home inspection but to also have radon levels tested, if there are fireplaces with chimneys have those inspected along with having the sewer line scoped in older homes. If a property has a septic system and well you will also want to get those inspected.

#4: Paying too much attention to how a home is decorated or superficial things that can be changed in a house.

  • We see it all the time and is why we are such proponents of staging a house when selling. Buyers walk in to a house that is nicely decorated and staged and fall in love with it and look past the important things in a home.
  • Layout, location and condition should be the most important things but it is very easy to get caught up in the way a home is decorated.
  • We try to consul our buyers on the things that can be changed in a house, items like paint color, light fixtures, hardware, flooring can all be changed.
  • Need to pay attention to the bones of the house and the condition it is in.

#5: Not working with a licensed real estate agent

  • Make sure you a working with a good, reputable agent that is honest and has a lot of experience. Take recommendations and look at reviews don’t just pick one blindly.
  • An agent can help you find the right house, uncover issues before you write an offer, help you negotiate to get the best deal, make sure you are represented properly, and make sure all paperwork is correct and accurate.
  • Rely on your agent to advise on pros and cons of a house and negations. They are an objective voice when making an emotional decision
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