12 Mistakes buyers make

For most of us, buying a home is not something we do frequently.  So it is really understandable that we are not experts in it.  Real estate agents are good sources of information and many give good advice.  But is important to understand that in most circumstances, the agent is imotivated in making the sale and often represents the seller more than the buyer.

There are numerous sources of information online and it is relatively easy to get oriented quickly. Take the time to get up to speed and talk to people who have done it before.



How to avoid 12 common Mistakes


1 Check your Credit Report

Your credit report is an important element when it comes to purchasing a home.  It controls wether you qualify for a mortgage and influences your mortgage rate and what you can spend for a home.  So it is important to check your credit report before you start shopping for a home. That way you can plan with your rating in mind and avoid surprises down the road.  It also lets you take care of any falsely reported credit issue up-front.

2 Get Pre-Approved

When you are actively looking for your perfect home, the moment may arrive unexpectedly when you find the right match.  What you want at that moment is to have all your ducks lined up to make a strong and convincing offer because you may be competing with a number of other offers.  If you are not pre-approved for the mortgage, another offer with pre-approval may win over your’s simply because the seller has more confidence that the purchase will go through.

3 Do your Research

It is easy to forget that a home is not just what you see inside of the property line, but is actually part of a much larger world.  Attached to the home is a neighborhood, a town or city, a school system, a crime rate, socio-economic factors and simple quality of life issues. It is easy to fall in love with a home that is just wonderful and perfect without really considering the whole package.  So it is very important you do your research into all of these factors and make sure they match your expectations and goals

Make a sharp Budget and stick with it

When looking at real estate listings, it is so easy to start considering houses above your target range.  You find yourself slowly creeping outside of what you can afford and the bank may even give you a mortgage for it.  How can you avoid getting yourself into this price-creep situation?

A good start is to make a solid budget up-front that you can trust and that includes all cost including insurance and utilities with enough resources for emergencies. You may even want to sharpen your pencil and then calculate the absolute limit you can afford.  Find your key priorities you need in a house and then try to stick to that. If you find yourself considering more expensive houses, try to change other parameters like location to allow you to get those features within your budget.

5 Consider Hidden Costs

When looking at the price of a home, it is tempting to calculate the monthly cost of a home from just the sticker-price.  However,  there is considerable more cost involved, both at closing and on a monthly basis.  
Closing costs can be as high as  2%-5% of the home’s sticker-price.  In addition to the monthly mortgage payment you need to add the cost for home insurance, taxes, association fees, mortgage insurance (PMI), utilities and maintenance. 

6 Know your Priorities

Purchasing a home is a very personal and emotional issue.  We can all be easily led astray by our own imagination and forget things that are of great importance. It can be difficult to be completely rational when we imagine our children playing in that oversized pool after having a great time on that monster jungle-gym and swingset.
So it is important to sort out your priorities up-front and always revisit them when looking at a house. For example, a person may consider the school system the highest priority, followed by the distance to work, followed by the number of bedrooms and quality/safety of the neighborhood etc..  Make a real priority list and remember checking it when you look at that pool.

7 Hire a Home Inspector

Most of the homes in the Boston area are older and constructed of wood. This combination is potentially an issue as these homes can deteriorate in ways that is not possible with cement-based houses.  There are many possible areas of damage, such as termites, moisture, dry-rot or electrical problems. These issues are often easily fixed and not necessarily a problem when you purchase a new home as long as they are detected when you buy the home and appropriate price adjustments are negotiated.

Using a competent Home Inspector before closing is therefore essential.  There are many professional home inspectors in the Boston area and you need to do your research.  Real Estate agents generally offer you a list of inspectors which can be OK, but you may want to pass on tha,t as those home inspectors' loyalties may be divided between you and the the agent.

8 Think like a seller

When we find the home of our dreams, we look at it from our own perspective. You may personally not be bothered by the fact that it is right next to the main road.  And that backyard right next to a cemetery may not be a problem at all.  But this is all subjective.
Before you buy a home, just for a moment, put on the hat of a seller (which you will be doing down the road) and think how easily you could sell this home right now. Get other people’s opinion and take them seriously.

9 Get the Right Mortgage

Mortgages come in many flavors, many of them low-risk simple plain vanilla 30-year mortgages, other’s very exotic with potential hazards down the road.  Many people get exotic mortgage products because they want to purchase a house that is above their budget.  Only an exotic mortgage will cover such a purchase, often with variable or ballooning mortgage rates down the road.  Weigh your risk appetite and choose accordingly.

10 Don't Fall in Love (yet)

For most of us, purchasing a home is a very personal and emotional experience.  Some homes strongly appeal to us for various reasons that are not always rational.  Many times this results in good outcomes with happy new homeowners.  But other time it does not.  It can result in bidding wars, overpaying for a home or purchasing a home that in fact is not practical.   So it is important to stay a little detached from the process as long as possible and know that there will always be another great home down the road.

11 Consider Long-Term Needs

Many buyers purchase a home that a few years later does not fit their lifestyle anymore.  So. when putting together a list of priorities we should not just look at our current situation but should look ahead into the medium-term future.  Maybe the children are still small and the quality of the school system is not important now, but in three or four years, that will change.  Maybe the parents are still doing ok and are fit, but may a few years down the road that may be a different situation.  At each phase of life, there are important transition ahead and we should embrace them and plan for them when looking for a home.  

12 Don't Buy on the Rebound

House hunting can be a very intense and sometimes frustrating experience.  This is especially true if after countless weeks or months of searching for homes and going to open houses, the deal for the perfect home falls through or is outbid.  
So it is understandable that after such an experience many feel particularly eager to go ahead and close almost any deal quickly, even if the house is not that ideal.  Many mistakes are being made when in such rebound situations.