Here is your chance to learn from other home buyers’ mistakes! We’ve listed the five most common mistakes that a home buyer can make:
1) Failing to plan for the future – Even if you think you will live in your new house for the rest of your life, you should still plan your exit strategy. If, for some reason, you needed to sell your home, would you be able to? And, if you could sell the home, would you make any profit from it? Be sure to talk with your real estate agent about buying a home with resale value so that you can plan for any problems that may come up in the future. He or she should be able to tell you what to look for (and you can read our blog “Finding a Home with Resale Value”).
2) Not checking the Covenants and Restrictions – Some neighborhood Homeowners Associations are stricter than others. An active HOA can be good (it can keep your neighbor from painting his house Pepto-Bismol Pink). But, if you want to store your boat at your house, add on a garage, or install a privacy fence, be sure to check with the HOA in the neighborhood before you buy. If one of the neighborhoods you’re interested in doesn’t allow your boat, for example, you can either price boat storage elsewhere or look in another neighborhood.
3) Not getting all agreements in writing – So that all parties will do what they say they are going to do, it is important to get these claims in writing. Your real estate agent may get the builder or the seller to sign written addendums in order to protect your best interests during the home buying process.
4) Neglecting to perform home inspections – When your real estate agent writes your contract to buy a home, he or she can include an inspection contingency. This contingency gives you a way out of the contract if the home inspection reports more repairs than you want to make. A termite inspection is usually required by your mortgage company, but a regular home inspection is usually not required. We recommend getting this standard home inspection so that you know the condition of the home before you buy it. So, if there are serious foundation problems that you did not notice earlier, your inspection contingency can get you out of the contract (and usually without any penalties).
5) Forgetting to do a final walk-through – You have an opportunity to walk through your new home right before you officially buy it. Usually the final walk-through takes place the day of or the day before your closing. Chances are that when you first looked at the home, the seller was still living there. So, during the walk-through you can see the home completely vacant and ready for you to move in. You can see for yourself that there are no problems with the house before you close on it. Also, if you know that you will not be able to go to your final walk-through because of a flight schedule, etc., you can ask your real estate agent to go instead.