The Do’s and Don’ts of Hunting Homes for Sale
Purchasing a home is one of the most exciting and important decisions someone can make. Avoiding house-hunting mistakes is the goal of any home buyer, but the process is not always easy. It is normal to feel overwhelmed or stressed. However, most home buyer mistakes are easily avoidable with some research and guidance from a real estate professional.
In an effort to remove some stress from the situation, we have compiled a list of the dos and don’ts of house hunting homes for sale:
Do read up on the neighborhood.
Look at the home, but also look at the neighborhood. Location is one of the most important things in real estate, so it is crucial to look at more than the bricks and bones of the home. How can you choose the right community? Decide what you’re looking for in a neighborhood, do research, and explore different districts. From there you can pick the neighborhood that fits your needs, wants, budget, and any other constraints.
Do look at multiple homes for sale before you buy.
Buying the first house you look at, even if it may seem like your dream home, is not necessarily a good idea. It is common for homebuyers to find qualities they like in each home they see, but if you only see one, you’re likely to miss out on qualities other homes have to offer. If you buy a home without comparing it to other listings in the area, you’re likely to overpay or miss out on a great home nearby. Walkthrough at least three homes before you choose. If you still love the first one you saw, then you can make an offer knowing it is the best choice for you!
Do buy based on needs, not wants.
The average American lives in the same home for about 9 years, so it is critical that you think about your long-term needs when buying a home. A 2-bedroom house with a gourmet kitchen may impress you today, but will you still be enamored down the road when your family starts to grow? Always make a list of your needs and stick to it when house hunting. This will help you avoid buyer’s remorse down the road.
Do invest in an expert inspection.
Sellers do not always disclose the whole truth to potential buyers, or they may have done a quick, makeshift job to cover up issues until the deal closes. The average home buyer takes 15 minutes or less to choose a home, but many potential problems, like wiring or plumbing trouble, might not be visible to the naked eye.
Home inspectors can look beyond the fresh coat of paint or a new carpet to find costly underlying problems. Splurge on an experienced professional – it will save you time, money, and house-induced stress later on.
Don’t pay more than necessary at real estate auctions.
While it is possible to get a deal on your dream home at a real estate auction, buying a home at auction is not always a bargain. The starting price may seem reasonable, but several bidders can force the price well over market value. You can avoid overbidding by doing research.
Are there any outstanding property taxes or liens that you would have to pay upon purchase? What are comparable homes in the area selling for? Is the neighborhood in a community that fits your current and future needs? These are all questions to ask yourself before any real estate purchase, but especially during an auction. On auction day, set a strict budget and do not let emotions take hold of your pocket in a bidding war.
Don’t buy a home based on its decor.
A home might have gorgeous furnishings at the showing, but it needs to accommodate your furnishings and lifestyle after the sellers pack up their belongings. Look past a home’s decor and make sure the space will accommodate your lifestyle and furniture.
Are the rooms functional and efficient for your daily routine? You might love how a seller has transformed an extra bedroom into a crafting space, but will it be big enough for your children’s bunk beds? Focus on the floor plan and the square footage to decide if a home is right for you.
Don’t trust everything you read in a real estate listing.
If you do not read between the lines, you may fall for every word in a real estate listing or advertisement. Like any ad, real estate classifieds are meant to pique your interest enough to make you take a closer look. Be a savvy buyer and decode the cunning phrases sellers use to draw you in.
“Motivated sellers” may be more willing to negotiate their price, but get an inspection to make sure there’s not an underlying reason they want to sell it quickly. If an ad says a home is “cozy”, make sure that doesn’t mean “very small”. If a home is being sold “as-is”, that can generally mean there is likely a lot of work to be done. Learning the real estate jargon will help you keep realistic expectations for showings.
Don’t buy the most expensive home on the block.
You won’t get the same return on investment with the biggest house on the block, and you might have trouble selling later on. Purchasing a home in your price range will allow you more financial freedom later. As we mentioned earlier, researching the neighborhood before purchasing a home is very important. Is the house you’re considering overbuilt for the area? Are there comparable homes for sale in that area? You will be glad you gathered this information if you ever decide to sell.
Lastly, don’t give up. Buying a home can be a long process, but it is rewarding in the end. Do not give up if you don’t find what you are looking for right away. New houses come on the market all the time. Mark Spain Real Estate is up to date on all of the newest homes for sale, visit our website here to learn more.