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7 Mistakes Home Buyers Make When Shopping For a Home

If you are in the process of buying a home you’ve probably heard all the recommended “Do’s” but you probably haven’t been warned about the “Don’ts”. Here’s our list of 7 mistakes for home buyers to avoid.

1. Falling For the Lipstick on a Pig

It’s so easy to be impressed by fresh paint, flooring and light fixtures. And without the experience or expertise it’s easy to be wooed by bad craftsmanship and not even realize it’s a crap job!

So before falling in love and having all of your emotions invested in a home, ask those with more knowledge (your realtor perhaps?): What do we know about the structure of the home and major systems (like HVAC, plumbing and electric)? Do you see any signs that the craftsmanship is DIY or subpar?

A “flip home” or remodeled home isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it can be a great thing! You just want to keep your feelings in check enough to make sure that the “look” of the home does indeed match the quality you are hoping for.

2. Not Doing a Home Inspection

Statistically speaking, purchasing a house is probably the largest asset you will ever purchase. And you should absolutely know whether the house is safe and structurally sound before becoming it’s owner.

There are many reasons home buyers can be persuaded to not have a home inspection. So don’t be manipulated! Even if it is a hot market where you needed to waive your Inspection Contingency it doesn’t mean you can’t have an inspection.

It will mean you can’t back out of the contract for property condition without some sort of penalty, but don’t let that penalty stop you from finding out if the home needs $40,000 in foundation repair or $25,000 for an electrical rewiring. Most of the time, you won’t find out something huge like that and the home will be just fine. Check out this deep dive from National Association of Realtors on the importance of home inspections and some tips to consider during the inspection process.

3. Being Rigid on Needs and Wants List

When we first meet with new home buyers, we always discuss their Needs and Wants list. It’s

important to have a plan when shopping for a home so that you don’t get lost in the hundreds of possibilities that are for sale. However, I’ve often experienced home buyers that become so attached to their Needs and Wants that they forget the overall goal: to become a homeowner.

Whether it’s your first home or your fifteenth, develop your list of Needs and Wants, and then also think about the bigger picture. For example: Is it more important to have the fourth bedroom or have a walk-in closet in the primary bedroom? Does the school district trump the size of the home? Is it more important to have an updated, move-in ready home or have a swimming pool?

It’s easy to become stressed and upset when we aren’t finding all the things we “Need” in a home. Usually this means we need to reexamine our Needs, as maybe it doesn’t fit our budget or maybe there just aren’t enough homes like that in the area you are looking for. Sometimes with a small tweak to our list we can find EXACTLY the home we want but didn’t even know it!

4. Avoiding Fixer Uppers

This one isn’t for everyone, however one of your biggest opportunities to get into that great

neighborhood and build huge equity is by being willing to purchase the Ugly Duckling. Do you remember the story about the funky duckling that turned out to be a beautiful swan?

Find the swan! Not all fixer uppers are created equal.

The ideal ones are in a great neighborhood and mostly need cosmetic work as opposed to structural work. However, in our experience it’s almost impossible to find a home that doesn’t need at least one major fix (examples: roof, HVAC, retaining wall, deck replacement). Here is an article that speaks on what to look for in a house that shows signs of great integrity and potential.

If you can afford it both financially and emotionally, buying a home that needs work can really open up what homes and neighborhoods are available to you in your budget.

5. Refusing to View the Homes with Bad Pictures

Don’t take it out on the house, blame the listing agent! What do we mean? It isn’t the home's fault that someone (IE. the listing agent) decided to shoot their pictures using an iPhone and have no idea about lighting, composition, editing, etc.

Poor marketing doesn't mean it’s a bad home. Don’t skip these properties because it could be your opportunity to 1. Find your perfect house and 2. Have less competition because others skipped it too.

6. Being Too Set on a Specific Community

Location, location, location! We’ve all heard it a million times. And yes, what location you choose to purchase a home in is important. However, there are times where our dream neighborhood and our budget don’t line up. No matter how good your real estate agent is, no one is magic.

They can’t make a home come up for sale that matches everything you want in your favorite neighborhood if it doesn’t line up with what others are willing to pay to be there. Trust us, we wish we could make it happen!

Here’s our tip: Remember the overarching reasons why you want to live in that community and then find something that has a similar feel. Is it the good schools? The cool cafes?

Once you know the reasons you are most interested in that community or neighborhood, you can then focus your energy on finding a community that offers that same feel but at a lesser cost. It may not be perfect, but you’ll own a home and be building equity that can be used toward your next home that hopefully will be in that dream neighborhood.

7. Walking Away Because the House Isn’t Perfect

I’ve seen it happen so many times: A home buyer finally finds “The One”, gets into contract on the home, does home inspections...and then panics! Usually, it’s because the home inspection report is 40+ pages long and includes EVERYTHING that could/should be upgraded.

Our real estate agents may refer to this as the “Honey-Do” list, but we know it’s easy for a home buyer to be overwhelmed and think the house is falling down.

Our recommendation: take a deep breath and have your real estate agent and home inspector walk you through what the most important items are for health and safety that need to be addressed quickly.

Then negotiate with the seller to fix those items or compensate you for them. Here’s where home buyers get confused though. Sometimes they believe a seller is supposed to fix every single thing on the list. And that just isn’t true or reasonable.

So instead of dwelling on the fact that the house isn’t perfect, remember why you loved the home in the first place. Oftentimes you’ll realize that you still really want to be in that house in that neighborhood and will be willing to fix the items needed to bring it up to your standards.

Please note, I’m not suggesting that you have to purchase the home that ACTUALLY is falling down or has several hidden problems that really does compromise the integrity of the home.

The Big Picture

Buying a home is a whirlwind! Google may tell you otherwise, but it really is a process that is

intricate and ever changing, meaning it’s always best to have a knowledgeable advisor by your side. Need a recommendation on who can help you through the home buying process? Call the Marching 2 More Team - we might know of some excellent real estate agents ;)

Roger Lee & Donavan McFadden of the Marching 2 More Real Estate team extend our gratitude to our clients for entrusting us with their real estate endeavors. Your satisfaction and success are at the heart of everything we do.


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