Recently, we revealed what 80% of home buyers regret and how you can avoid buyer’s remorse. Today we’re going to talk about 10 things buyers do during their home search that they end up regretting. If you made any of these mistakes when you bought your first house, you most certainly won’t be repeating them. Check out our list of 10 things every home buyer regrets doing during their home search.
Trying to Fit the House to Your Furniture
This one is the biggest offender. Nearly every home buyer starts their home search by looking at how their existing furniture will fit in their new home. We’ve had clients try to accommodate their California King size sleigh bed, 90” TV, oversized living room sofa sectional and dining room set that seats 24 (not quite but almost!). Nine times out of ten, the buyer who buys a house to accommodate a piece of furniture will end up replacing that furniture in a very short period of time, thus making the demand irrelevant. Our recommendation is to base your decision to buy potentially your biggest asset on factors that you can’t change (neighborhood, location, lot, floor plan), rather than basing it on a piece of furniture you’ll likely replace in a short period of time.
Shopping Mortgage Interest Rates Online
Whether you are rate shopping online or dialing for dollars the old fashion way, you are wasting your time. Interest rates can change at a moment’s notice and cannot be locked (secured for you) until you have a contract to purchase a home. The interest rate you’ll ultimately get is based on your credit score and history. You’ll only be able to secure the rate once your loan application has been processed, verified and substantiated. Here are some additional tips on how to choose a lender when buying a home.
Not Sticking to Your “Wants List” – Your Priority List
Did you even make your priority list? Your “wants list” should state what you most want to change about your present housing situation. What are the three features or characteristics in the home or neighborhood that you absolutely must have in your next home? Conversely, what are the three features or characteristics that are absolutely unacceptable in your next home? Look at the homes that possess those attributes and don’t look at homes that possess the negatives. You’ll save yourself time and be happier with your home for longer.
Overlooking Resale Impediments
Almost every property has shortcomings. Deferred maintenance, minor deficiencies that do not materially affect the home’s value or usefulness. These things can usually be remedied with some elbow grease and money. However, incurable defects are far more serious. An incurable defect is any adverse condition perceived as such by the buyer that cannot be rectified with a reasonable amount of money or effort. If you buy a property with an incurable defect at a discount, you will have to sell it at a discount, or you will have difficulty producing a timely sale. Understand what incurable defects the house you’re considering has before making an offer. As we always say, the best time to think about selling a home is before your buy it.
Ignoring a Potential Change in Your Future Circumstances
Is there the possibility that an elderly or disabled parent or relative may come to live with you? Are there plans to enlarge your family? What is the likelihood that your household’s major earner will lose a job? How likely is a job change or involuntary job transfer and how does it affect your ownership? Spend some time considering these potential changes in your life. Plan for as many of them as you can. Obviously you don’t have a crystal ball, so do the best you can with the info you know now. This way you’ll decrease your chances of having to move again too soon.
Not Knowing the True Total Cost of Home Buying and Ownership
Costs come in many varieties. Unexpected closing costs, unplanned used home costs and unforeseen new home costs. Avoid financial surprises by drafting a budget for each of these scenarios. Then, protect yourself from financial surprises during the first year by purchasing a home warranty. (As your buyer’s agent, we can usually get the seller to pay for it, too.) Work with your buyer’s agent, mortgage lender, inspector and escrow officer to build a realistic breakdown of expenditures.
Failing to Understand a Home Inspection Report
The best way to understand a home inspection report is to personally attend the home inspection and ask questions. The report itself is a summary of the inspector’s observations. A professional inspection can reveal defects, malfunctions and deficiencies that the seller has neglected to identify in their seller’s disclosure statement, or the buyer overlooked. Always always always get a home inspection and make every effort to attend and ask questions.
Falling in Love with the Seller’s Decor
Buyers sometimes fall in love with a house because of the way the seller decorates it, which doesn’t make sense since it is not their decor nor furnishings. Builders have used this trick very effectively when showing their model homes and is largely the reason the floor plan for the model is the most popular floorplan in the neighborhood. In the resale market, it’s called staging and it’s designed to misdirect a buyer’s attention. Instead of focusing on the floor plan that simply won’t work, or the homeowner maintenance that has been neglected, buyers can sometimes fall into the trap of falling in love with the seller’s decor. Remember, the seller is taking their furniture with them. Then, you are going to personalize the home for your comfort and convenience, and in accordance with your own budgetary constraints. Try to look past the furnishings and decor to really find out if this home will work for you and your family. You lay a carpet, throw pillows, furnish it yourself.
Discarding a Home Because of Cosmetic Imperfections
Ruling out a home that otherwise matches your “want list” because of ugly wallpaper, uninspiring wall colors, dirty carpets or old appliances is a mistake that could end up costing you money in the long run. I know many of you are saying “it will cost me money in the short term to get rid of the ugly stuff.” But, the good news is you can change all of it and for less money than you might think. Finding a house with good bones, a sensible floor plan and smooth traffic flow with ample size in the right neighborhood are the keys to smart home buying. If you have one home that has all of the flooring and paint choices you would have made but it is in a poor location versus another home that has ugly paint and flooring but is in a superior location, choose the one in the superior location. You’ll be happier for much longer.
Looking for a Home Without an Agent Who Represents Your Interests Only
The seller (or builder) has an agent to promote and protect his interests, why shouldn’t the buyer? The seller’s agent’s job is to get the highest price, best terms and most timely sale for the seller. Agents cannot serve two masters – no matter how “nice” they seem when they show you their listing. If you want an agent to promote and protect your interests – and not the seller’s – you must retain your own agent. They are called “Buyer’s Agents”, and it doesn’t cost you anything extra. A buyer’s agent’s fee is paid by the seller.
Considering Buying a Home in Austin?
Our team of experienced buyer’s agents have the tools to help you find the right home in the right neighborhood for your family. We are unique in that our approach is consultative, not salesy. We feel it is our job to counsel you towards making the best decision you can on a home, not try to sell you the most expensive home you can afford. For more about how we are and our unique home buyer representation program, check out our Austin Home Buyers section. Then, fill out our Buyer Survey, call us at (512) 827-8323 or email us at info@11OaksRealty.com to schedule a no obligation consultation.