Buying a home should be easy nowadays, right? Never before have buyers had so much access to real estate data from their hyperlocal area and tools for determining the value of a given home; they can be alerted via text the very moment a new home hits the market. Despite all this, finding a home can still be a very frustrating project, especially in the low-inventory markets of today. Thankfully, if you simply avoid the following three buyer mistakes, you’ll automatically put yourself in a much better position and remove needless stress from the equation:
1. Not touring enough houses. Don’t assume you’ll be able to find the perfect home just based on your internet searches; well in advance of your target moving date (perhaps even a year prior), you need to drive through neighborhoods and get into some houses. Whether or not you find the right home within those first few tours is beside the point; all that touring will give you a better feel for what’s out there and how different layouts or features strike you.
2. Not hiring an agent. I know what you’re thinking: “We’ll have all these homes lined up, and we’re just going to call the listing agent on the sign if we really like one. Why would we need someone’s help with this?” In truth, it’s really hard to find a house if you don’t have a relationship with a listing agent, or the ability to leverage someone else’s relationship with one. When you enlist a buyer’s agent, the commission comes off the sale price of the house you eventually end up buying. So, while it’s technically true that the buyer is “paying” for the commission, there is no additional fee for retaining a buyer’s agent.
Even so, why should you hire one? Well, it’s a jungle out there, and you need boots on the ground. There is very little inventory available right now, but agents actually have tons of “coming soon” and “off-market” homes in the private network. Commonly, agents are able to match properties in this private network with buyer clients before their listing goes public, which is a huge advantage.
3. Not talking to a lender. It’s critically important that you understand exactly how much you can comfortably spend on a home, and there’s no substitute for having an in-depth chat with a trusted lender. If you plan on selling first, you’ll also need to work with an agent who knows the market and can give you an accurate valuation of your property; if you make a serious miscalculation with regard to the proceeds of your sale, your buying power will be thrown out of whack, too. When you write an offer on a house you love, you absolutely have to present a pre-approval letter from a lender; the seller needs proof that you’ll actually be able to pay what your offer claims you can.
I hope you found this information helpful. I take listing appointments all the time, which means I get wind of market-bound homes before they even hit the private network. Amy Olson is the buyer’s agent on our team and a phenomenal one at that; she and I work in tandem to help buyers find the right home. Additionally, we have a preferred lender, Larry Steinway of Guaranteed Rate. As a team, we’ll take the stress out of the whole process and help you avoid the mistakes that frequently hold buyers back.
If you’re ready to make a move and have more questions on this or any other related topic, please feel free to reach out to me via phone or email. I’d love to hear from you!