Even if you are an experienced, relocation home buyer moving to Vienna, VA with your company from California, it makes sense to go through this checklist. You will buy a better home and have a better experience.
The biggest home buyer mistakes:
- Choosing a real estate agent who isn’t committed to forming a strong business relationship with you. It is important that you have a solid connection because that agent needs to be dedicated to serving your needs right now, during the negotiations and after the sale.
- Not being “pre-qualified” by a lender before making an offer. Getting pre-qualified is actually very easy, will help you know what you can afford, and help strengthen your negotiating position. This is usually based on a credit score (FICO) and current income.
- Not knowing what the total costs will be. Sit down with your agent and go through an “Estimated Cost Worksheet” that will include closing costs, and inspection costs. Knowing the costs will help you plan your budget too.
- Thinking that there is only one style of home for you. House shopping is comparison shopping on a very big scale, so you need to have an open mind to what is available in your price range.
- Only looking at open houses, magazines or the Internet. The best homes rarely are available to see at an open house, magazines are often showing sold homes, and unless you are on the best site I know, your Internet search site may not be 100% accurate (garbage in, garbage out). Real estate agents are a strategic resource of the most current information.
- Not having a professional home inspection. Home Inspections can be the most informative three hours you will spend in your new home. And since most home inspectors look at two to three homes a day, they have valuable insight into potential issues or valuable upgrades.
- Waiting to make an offer. Real estate may seem like a commodity, but factors like natural sunlight, upgrades, superior condition, and price may make a home a real bargain. Making an offer before another buyer steps up may help you buy the right place today.
- Buying the lowest cost homeowners insurance. You are going to want “full replacement cost” if the house burns down the week after closing. Maybe that is too extreme, but a good policy will protect your financial position in case of a catastrophe.
- Buying with a short term vision. A home may seem too big now, but will it fit your plan in five to ten years? Planning ahead will prevent you from having to move too quickly.
- Not having the Seller provide a home protection plan or home warranty. Believe it or not, there are third party insurance companies that will cover the existing appliances with a low deductible during the first year (like your dishwasher, AC, or hot water heater). This does not replace the importance of a home inspection, because appliances with pre-existing conditions (like rust) are not covered.
Have a suggestion to help another home buyer? Then leave it in the comments below.
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