No one likes to make a mistake! That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 20 rookie mistakes when buying a home, even if you’re a seasoned pro!
1. Expecting that the house you’re buying is new, when it’s actually used.
Every home, whether it’s 1 year old or 50 years old, will have its flaws. Sellers are only required to hand over the keys to a home in the same condition it was in when you bought it. They don’t owe you a perfect house with no issues.
2. Not being pre-approved for a mortgage before you shop for a house.
Imagine falling in love with a home only to find out that nobody will give you a mortgage for it. You need a commitment from a mortgage lender so you can shop confidently within budget, and make an informed offer on the home of your dreams.
3. Not being flexible.
We all have a favourite neighbourhood or an ideal style of home. But if you’re not flexible, you may be passing up opportunities that would become phenomenal in the long run. Kitchens and bathrooms can always be updated, so don’t let that turn you away from a great layout in a wonderful neighbourhood within your budget.
4. Expecting to see a home on short notice.
Most sellers want some notice before they have to leave for your showing. The more time you can give them, the better. If they’re going to be reviewing offers at 5:00pm on Friday, don’t leave your showing until 3:00pm and expect that you’ll be ready to make an offer in time.
5. Not respecting the Seller’s home.
Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for houses to have security systems that could potentially be recording you during your showing. Be kind, watch what you say about the house, NEVER make fun or post insulting videos on social media, and remember to take off your muddy shoes at the front door!
6. Being distracted by the home’s staging, and not the home itself.
Houses can look very different once the furnishings and clutter is removed. Go in to your showing with an open mind. Bring a tape measure! The room may look small – but is that because it’s filled with oversized furniture? It might be just right for your belongings!
7. Don’t lose sight of your original goals.
It’s normal to re-evaluate what you want and need during the home-buying process. But don’t be seduced by that gorgeous kitchen when what you really need is a finished basement and 2 car garage.
8. Not doing your due diligence.
If you find yourself in a bidding war with other buyers, you may be sacrificing your peace of mind by not having a home inspection or other due diligence done. Your REALTOR® should be able to guide you on what’s the best course of action to take with putting in a great offer on a home.
9. Scheduling too many showings in one day.
Looking at houses is fun! But after a full day of viewings, you may start to forget what you saw and where you saw it. Instead, try to book a few showings at a time so you’re fully able to digest what you looked at and how you feel about it.
10. Not looking in the unfinished basement.
You may not think there’s a reason to view the basement of the home if it’s unfinished. Some older homes have dirt-floor basements that seem scary! But take the time to look down there for water damage, the electrical or plumbing in view, and any other issues.
11. Not looking at the mechanicals and envelope of the home.
It may not seem interesting, but it’s important! Ask your real estate agent for any information they have on the age of the furnace, electrical, plumbing, and other mechanicals on the home. Have a check around the outer “envelope” including the roof, siding and foundation (as best you can) for any glaring problems you might want an inspector to look at.
12. Making a large purchase right before your home closes.
Your mortgage lender agreed to provide you with financing based on the evidence they saw when your offer was accepted. By opening up a new credit card, or buying a new car shortly before your home closes, you could be jeopardizing the amount of money the lender will give you as they see all this new debt.
13. Not checking out that ugly house.
Just because the home isn’t up to your standards right now, you may be overlooking a real diamond in the rough! There are some great deals to be found on spectacular homes that just need some TLC. Don’t miss out!
14. Trying to keep up with the Joneses.
You may have dreams of a sprawling home with large gardens and high end finishes. But if you’re going to be stretching yourself too thin financially just to impress your friends, think again. Don’t buy a detached home when you more realistically can afford a townhouse or condo.
15. Don’t believe everything you see on Instagram!
Houses that are showcased on tv or social media are absolutely staged. Sometimes designers loan their furnishings and accessories to “spruce up” a property for marketing photos. Don’t be discouraged if your belongings don’t look the same as what you see online.
16. Overestimating your renovation abilities.
Be honest – do you really have the construction know-how to tear down a wall or gut a bathroom properly? If you don’t have what it takes to do the job up to building code, you may have to budget for a professional contractor to do the work.
17. Not knowing the difference between a deposit & a down payment.
You’ll need to pay a deposit on the house within 24 hours of your offer being accepted. You’ll also need a down payment on the house – and that’s the total amount of cash you are putting into the home (purchase price less mortgage). Learn more on our blog here.
18. Not removing that blue film off of appliances.
Trust us. Those appliances aren’t blue. It’s just the film they put on to protect it from scratches. Peel it off!
19. Refusing to sign a Buyer Rep Agreement with your REALTOR®.
This representation agreement is protective for both you and your real estate agent. It clarifies what they will do for you, and how long they’ll be helping you shop for your next home. Learn more on our blog, The Buyer Rep Agreement.
20. Not working with a REALTOR® for your purchase.
You may not realize it, but as a buyer, you most likely won’t need to pay any of the commissions while you purchase your home. That generally is done by the seller. Get all the protections that a REALTOR® can offer with their knowledge of legal terms, contracts and your rights when buying a home. It just makes sense that you use their services to ensure you’re not being taken advantage of.
By calling The Kate Broddick Team, we’ll help you through the buying process and steer you clear of these 20 rookie mistakes!