Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you will ever make. The process should be a positive experience or it can end up being a very disappointing experience. If you want to avoid the latter, we suggest you take steps to avoid some of the common mistakes homebuyers make.
Below is a list of four mistakes we see time and again, and the steps you should take to avoid the traps.
Most homeowners engage a real estate agent, but very few homebuyers do the same. Many feel that they can research the market, get a ‘feel’ for the suburbs and properties that interest them and negotiate matters for themselves. In reality, the homeowner has the advantage of a professional who is backing their cause through the entire process. Home buyers and especially first home buyers should think seriously about engaging a buyer’s agent or advocate.
Real Estate Agents are not Your Friend
You will quite likely spend considerable time with one agent looking at a number of properties together. It is natural to be friendly with each other, but do not forget that the agent works for the buyer. In fact, the agent is morally and legally obliged to work for the property owner.
Failing to Research and Prepare
Make sure your individual or family budget is prepared in advance, and you know what you can afford to spend/ borrow. Arrange pre-approved finance and start managing to your budget before you take the plunge.
Find out about your chosen neighbourhood. Visit it at different times of the day and enter its name into search engines to bring up news or other items that may point to undesirable areas. Research schools, amenities, transportation, zoning and crime levels.
Love at First Sight
Keep your emotions under control when you are viewing a property with an agent, and do not decide you must have a house at any cost. There are plenty of homes that will meet your requirements, so if your ‘dream’ home is out of your price range, or has serious structural or neighbourhood issues, use your head and move on.
Have a checklist of your requirements in a house and physically tick off as you complete inspections. Then you can sit down and compare competing homes against your priorities. Remember to take a friend wit you!
This is the first in a three-part series of Homebuyer Traps and Pitfalls. Next time, we focus on mortgages, property prices, budgeting and home-buying costs.
If you have come close to suffering one of our pitfalls but managed to avoid doing so, we’d love a comment on how you did it!