11 Mistakes Unprepared House-Hunters Make
We’ve got a list of the eleven most common house hunting mistakes and the simple ways that you can avoid them.
1. Not Being Emotionally Prepared
Don’t overestimate your finances and underestimate your feelings. Buying a home is an emotional process. Everyone thinks it won’t be emotional, and they’ll be the exception, but it never fails that things come up that you won’t expect. When you’re not prepared for the gambit of emotions that may hit you, you leave yourself open and vulnerable to mistakes. All it takes is one house that’s perfect for you but not for your budget to send you into an overthinking spiral. Be prepared to be prepared for the unexpected.
2. Not Knowing What You Can Afford
It’s hard to let go once you’ve fallen in love with a house. You begin dreaming about the life you’d live there; you envision family celebrations, relaxing baths in the primary suite, and using the spacious kitchen with upgraded appliances. However, if it’s not something you can afford, you’re only hurting yourself. One way to avoid temptation is to restrict your house hunting to properties within your price range. Looking at places outside your price range can leave you lusting after a house you can’t afford. Trying to stretch your budget may get you into that dreamy home, but instead of relaxing weekends, you may find yourself living in a state of stress. Sometimes stretching your budget is worth it; sometimes, it’s not. Make sure to take the time to know which is right for you.
3. Skipping Mortgage Pre-Approval
A critical mistake is deciding to skip getting your pre-approval letter for your loan before going house-hunting. The pre-approval gives you and your lender an idea of what you can afford. The pre-approval is also a starting point to begin looking at properties. Attempting to submit an offer on the house without pre-approval also wastes the seller’s agent’s time and your agent’s time. You’re wasting your time and your REALTOR®s as well, if you have one.
4. Not Shopping For Your Current And Future Needs
While it’s essential to be realistic while house hunting, and you should be prepared to compromise to some degree, don’t cave on the things you really want. For example, it may not be wise to get a two-bedroom home when you plan to have kids, and you know you’ll need a third bedroom. Or, for another example, don’t buy a condo because it’s cheaper than buying a house when one of the main reasons you’re tired of apartment living is that you dislike sharing walls with neighbors. There will always be some compromises when choosing a home, but don’t make one that compromises your dreams.
5. Not Using A REALTOR®
House hunting without a REALTOR® is like sitting down at a 5-star restaurant and trying to order without a waiter. You may be able to eventually get the food you desire, but not without a lot of extra work, a few mistakes, and stress. Just like a waiter is there to serve you and ensure you have the best experience possible, so is a REALTOR®. And just like a waiter does a lot of work behind the scenes to make sure your food is delicious and your time is terrific, a REALTOR® does the same for you. An excellent REALTOR® will give you five-star service, offering you an experience that makes your life that much better even though you don’t see the countless hours they put in. Texas REALTORS® are held to high ethical standards to protect and act in your best interests. Especially for a buyer, the seller most often pays your REALTORS® commission, so you’re only hurting yourself by not having someone who can advocate for you.
6. Lack Of Vision
Sometimes a homebuyer can feel a lot like Goldilocks: This one’s too big, this one’s too small, etc. And sometimes, they can’t look at something that isn’t quite right and envision how it could work for them. If a home meets your needs where the big things are concerned, such as location and size, try to look past cosmetic imperfections that you could easily fix. Even if it’s not in your budget to replace the hideous wallpaper in the bathroom right now, you might consider living with it for a while until you can see past it to its potential.
7. Going For A Fixer-Upper And Getting In Over Your Head
Evaluate your budget, your abilities, and how quickly you need to move before purchasing a property that’s not move-in ready. Take into account the time and money you’ll need to invest. For example, if you’re thinking of doing the work yourself, then get started and realize you’re in over your head; any repairs or upgrades you were planning will probably cost twice as much once you factor in labor. If you’re thinking about buying a house that needs work, don’t buy a fixer-upper that’s more than you can handle. Be realistic in your evaluation of the property. And if it proves to be too much, a good REALTOR® can often get you a great deal on new construction. New construction is usually best if you want to customize a home to your specific needs.
8. Not Researching The Neighborhood
Don’t only focus on the house—look at the surrounding area. It would be impossible to predict the future of a chosen neighborhood. However, researching now can help you avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Things to consider:
-Development plans that may be in the works for the neighborhood.
-Is the street a popular rush-hour shortcut or likely to become the main road?
-Is there talk of a highway being built nearby within five years?
-What are the zoning laws?
-Is there a lot of undeveloped land nearby? If so, what’s most likely to be built there?
-Have home values recently risen or declined in the neighborhood?
After asking these questions and others, you’ll better understand if this is the house for you.
9.Rushing to Put in an Offer
If you find a home you’re in love with in a hot market, it may feel necessary to make an offer fast. However, try to balance the need to make a quick decision with the need to ensure the house will be right for you. Please don’t neglect the necessary steps for fear that you might miss out. If the home is meant for you, no one else can take it. Ideally, you’ll be able to sleep on it overnight. And how well you sleep, coupled with how you feel about the home in the morning, may tell you a lot about whether this is the one for you.
10. Dragging Your Feet
This one will contradict the previous point, but this is precisely why a REALTOR® is your greatest asset. It’s also tricky to make the right decision without taking too long to make it. Feeling like you lost out on a property that you were ready to make an offer on when someone beats you to it can be heartbreaking.
11. Getting Desperate
If you’ve been looking for a while and don’t see anything you like—or worse, you keep getting outbid on the house you do want—it’s easy to begin feeling desperate. Would you rather live with the regret of making a rushed decision out of fear, or would you rather be patient and get something you love? And if you make a rash decision and move into a home you end up hating, it can be costly to move again so soon. It may not feel like time is on your side, but it’s okay to wait for something better to come along. New houses arrive on the market every day. Trust your REALTOR®; you’ve got this.
Living Houston Specializes In Helping You Find Your Perfect Home
Buying a house is a monumental decision, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. However, if you can foster emotional awareness, you’ll be able to make rational decisions. Being aware will protect you from costly mistakes and allow you to shop confidently. When it comes to buying a new home, take your time. Be realistic, don’t act on impulse, and make a home-buying decision that’s good for your finances and gives you all the feels. And if you’d like assistance with your home search, contact Living Houston for a consultation.