Whether you’re looking for your first home, second, fifth, or tenth, you know the house hunting process can be just as stressful as it is exciting. With so many variables and such a large investment up in the air, you may find yourself struggling to keep it all in check.
Mistakes along the way can just pile onto that stress, but the good news is that they don’t have to. Here are the top 10 mistakes to avoid while house hunting so that your home buying experience can be as enjoyable as possible (and maybe even fun!).
1. Rushing through your search
While this ultimately comes down to careful planning early on, don’t rush through your home search. Give yourself as much time as possible to nail down your must-haves, discuss them with a realtor, and see the homes that meet your criteria.
While it’s not ideal to visit dozens of homes, you still don’t want to feel pressured into buying the first two or three that seem viable. It’s understood that there will be times when a house is going to sell very quickly or you have a surprise career change and have to move lickety-split, but allowing yourself the time to weigh your options and make an informed decision is ideal.
2. Skipping the finer details
When you’re walking through a home with your realtor, don’t be afraid to look everywhere. Now, that doesn’t give you license to go rummaging through the homeowner’s personal effects, but you should be opening kitchen drawers and cupboards, checking in closets, exploring any oddities, and even having a look at the state of the garage.
This will help to prevent any unpleasant surprises should you decide to purchase the home, which will then help stave off any buyer’s remorse. You need to know that you can live in the home before you decide to purchase.
3. Openly negative criticism
It’s just not polite to start bashing the home you’re visiting, while you’re walking around inside of it. For one, it’s going to make you see only the negative aspects and may go on to colour your opinion of other homes.
The sellers may also be in earshot, as well as neighbours, and you never know what kind of home security systems the homeowner has in place, like Wi-Fi cameras and other devices that can capture audio. It’s best to keep negative opinions to yourself until it’s appropriate to discuss them, even if you know the house isn’t for you from the start.
4. Calling the number on the for sale sign
Never just call the phone number on a home’s for sale sign to schedule a visit. You may end up looking at homes that your real estate agent has specifically omitted from your search, or you may just end up on a wild goose chase, viewing homes that don’t meet your needs.
This tactic may also make sellers believe that you’re not working with a realtor, which means they may see you as an easy target when it comes to negotiations. It’s best to call your realtor if you see a home that hasn’t been suggested yet. Offer the address and the phone number on the sign, and let them look into it for you. This way there is no miscommunication, and your home search continues in a way that benefits you the most.
5. Overestimating your handiness
While the price tag on most fixer uppers is desirable, you need to consider all the work that needs to be done before that dream home vision you see in your mind can become a reality. While certain things like replacing the flooring may seem simple enough, you may soon find yourself in over your head with some homes.
Also, don’t forget about costs, construction time, and any surprise issues that may arise during the process. You don’t want to get halfway through your own kitchen reno only to realize that you don’t know how to install the sink.
6. Enjoying too much caffeine
You may want to take a nice hot coffee with you for those morning home viewings, but do your best to leave caffeine out of the equation. It’s a natural diuretic, which essentially means it’s going to make you pee more often. If you have three showings in different parts of town, you don’t want to have to stop every 20 minutes to find a bathroom.
Worst case scenario: You use another person’s bathroom and they’re out of toilet paper. Just bring along a water bottle and sip sparingly, or plan your coffee consumption in accordance with your schedule.
7. Wearing shoes that take too much time to do up
If you have slip-on shoes or the weather is good enough for flip-flops, then reach for those as you head out the door to view some homes. Wearing cumbersomely laced-up sneakers or buckled boots of some sort will just make entering and exiting homes a pain.
There may be other families right behind you or leaving just before you at a home, so you’ll just end up crowding the doorway and feeling rushed and stressed out. You’re going to be either mostly in your car or inside someone’s house, so you can leave your backwoods hiking boots at home.
8. Don’t go alone
The home buying experience is altogether easier with a realtor to guide your efforts. They’ll have all the latest information on your local market and will be able to help you find homes that fit your needs and lifestyle goals, while staying within your budget.
It’s also a great idea to take along the person with whom you’re buying the home or even a friend if you plan on living alone. It’s always best to have someone to talk things over with who may help you see the positive points in a home while acting as a voice of reason if you’re overlooking some critical issues.
9. Refusing to compromise
Unless money is no issue whatsoever, you’re just not going to find absolutely everything you want in a home. Every home is different, and everyone’s tastes are different — be open to things that may not quite be to your taste. It’s best to start every home visit by noting the positive aspects of the things you absolutely cannot change.
For example, you’ll want to note how the layout suits your lifestyle, how the location fits your commuting or social needs, and how the backyard is the perfect size for your summer BBQs. If you don’t like something, but it can be remedied soon or in the not too distant future, then consider living with it for now if the rest of the home, its price, and its location match your needs well.
10. Skipping mortgage pre-approval
There is tremendous value in getting pre-approved for a mortgage. You’ll know exactly what you can afford when it comes time to house hunt, which allows you to set up your expectations accordingly so that you’re not disappointed when you start viewing homes. Mortgage pre-approval can also help speed up the overall purchase processing, removing a lot of worry from financing contingencies.
A mortgage pre-approval is also the best way to show your realtor and sellers that you’re serious about buying a home, which may make your offers more attractive, potentially helping you stand out over competing buyers.
Do you have more questions about the home hunting process? Feel free to call or text Gino Cipriano right now at 204-955-5853 or send him an email. He’s here to answer your questions and to help you find the perfect home for your needs and budget.