Friday, June 29, 2018
House Hunting Mistakes

Just say Noooooo……..

Hunting for that new home has enough stress without inadvertently adding more to it!  This is a simple guide to make sure you maximize not only your success but just as importantly your enjoyment of the process!

House hunting is so much more than an internet search, popping into an open house, or a drive by then WHAM you are a home owner.

Hunting the smart way ensures that you preserve your time, your money, and most importantly your sanity; so, let’s get started.

  • Armed without a pre-approval…. Nothing screams “I’m not serious” as much as not having a pre-approval in hand before starting to look at homes. Most sellers will not entertain an offer without a pre-approval and in hot markets no pre-approval means you can kiss your chance at that promising home goodbye.  In addition, a pre-approval lets you know exactly what you qualify for so that you don’t waste time pursuing homes that you can’t afford.
  • House hunting without an agent…..The best way to find a home in this tight market is to get a jump on the competition. Not only are they the first notified when a new home lists; they also have a wide network of homes that are not yet listed, about to be listed, or for sale by owner listings.  Lastly, their negotiating skills will save your dollars when writing an offer.
  • Not knowing what you want…..Make your wish list before you start house hunting. Be sure to split this list into two categories: must have and nice to have.  In doing this you will have a well-defined search parameter which not only saves you time but also puts you in front of the homes that will best suit you.  Once the home showings begin, it is quite easy for the houses to begin to blend in with each other.  Keeping a strict guideline on what you want and need cuts down on much confusion.
  • Waiting too long to see a home…..Especially in tight markets such as we are experiencing now, waiting just one day can mean the difference between buying your dream home and getting the next best thing. Be as pro-active as possible when notified of a new property.
  • Inviting un-educated advisors…. Is mom going to live in the house? Is your best friend?  Yeah, didn’t think so.  Even though it is wise to get an unbiased second opinion, be very careful of getting too many opinions.  Most often the folks offering their advice are basing their opinions on their own living situations so although the advice might be valid, it may not be suited to you and the needs you have for a home.
  • Speeding through the open house…. To get an authentic feel for a home, it is important to explore it in detail and the best time is at an open house. Be sure to look in every nook and cranny to include closets and cabinets.  Look beyond the fancy to the basic, floors, light switches, outlets, the general up keep of the home.  This is the time to look for those red flags that can be noted prior to an offer and a home inspection.
  • Becoming distracted by the sparkles…..Let’s face it, we all love the sparkles. More often than not, the devil is in the details.  You want to look past the perfect and look at the details.  For example, new appliances don’t always mean they are the best.  Look at the brands and see if they will stand the test of time.  Look for signs of a rush job in prepping the home for market such as paint splatters, gaps in the flooring, gaps between molding and the walls.  These all indicate a rush job of someone trying to prep the home for listing rather than a home that has been well cared for.
  • Expecting perfection…..If your expectations are that of a perfect home, dream kitchen, perfect neighborhood, best schools all at a price you can afford you can dream on. Two out of three isn’t bad in life and the same can be said for hunting for your new home.  Focus on those things which are important to you and let go of the things that really don’t matter in the long run.  For example, paint color.  The home is great, location is great, schools are rated well, and then you walk in the front door to be greeted by the green goblin.  It’s paint.  It is easily changed.  If the home meets your criteria, then you might want to give it strong consideration and invite all your friends over for a painting party!
  • Ignoring the neighborhood…..When you begin touring homes make sure that you allot time to tour the surrounding streets as well. Do the kids down the street have a band that practices in the garage?  Are the cars racing up and down the streets where your kids will ride their bikes?  Once you have made sure there are no red flags look a bit deeper and determine the overall vibe of the area.  Is it quiet or busy?  Do the neighbors congregate on their porches or keep to themselves?  Is this a community where you can see yourself easily becoming part of the flow of life?  These are important to keep in mind when you are narrowing your choice of a home.
  • Falling in love with the décor, not the home…. Dazzled when you walked in? Is it the home that is dazzling you or the décor?  It is a stager’s job to make you swoon but unless you plan on hiring one when you move in, you probably will not replicate the look once you move in.  Make sure you are envisioning your things, and that you are falling in love with the house itself and not the way it looks.