House hunting is serious business. Yes, it can also be a lot of fun, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with enjoying yourself as you tour different properties. However, it’s also important to be vigilant. Keep your eyes and ears open and think critically about whether the house is ultimately a good fit for you and your family. It hardly needs to be said that purchasing a home is a big commitment, and you’ll always want to do your due diligence.
There are a few common mistakes that can potentially make your house hunting experience less effective. We’re going to outline them below. Naturally, we recommend avoiding them as best you can.
House Hunting Mistakes to Avoid
Not getting pre-approved for a mortgage.
Before you head out house hunting, we recommend meeting with a mortgage underwriter to get pre-approved for a loan.
There’s a simple reason for this. Pre-approval will give you a pretty good idea of how much home you can actually afford. As such, you can avoid falling in love with a home that turns out to be beyond your price range.
Additionally, pre-approval makes you more ready to begin real estate negotiations in earnest… so if you find a house you really like, you can immediately make your move.
Not knowing what you want.
Hopefully, before you head out house hunting, you’ll have time to sit down and think about your priorities.
How much room do you need? How many bedrooms? What else is important to you? Proximity to work? School district? Neighborhood? A particular style of house?
Be clear about what your must-haves are. That way, you can avoid wasting time on homes that simply don’t fit the bill.
Waiting too long.
Is there a home that just came on the market that you absolutely have to see? Does it seem on paper like it’s the perfect house for you and your family?
If so, it’s important to contact your agent (or, if you’re not working with a Realtor, contact the listing agent) to arrange a showing ASAP.
In real estate, things can change pretty quickly, especially in a hot market. Delaying by even a day may mean the house goes under contract and you miss your opportunity. Don’t let that be the case! Rearrange your schedule to make the showing happen.
Bringing too many people.
When you head out house hunting, you don’t necessarily want to go alone. Assuming you’re purchasing the home with your spouse or partner, you want to bring them along, too. And, it may be advantageous to bring your kids, allowing them to at least see the place and weigh in with their opinion.
But what about your best friend? Your mother-in-law? Your brother or sister? Well, unless they’re going to be living with you or paying your mortgage, you probably don’t want them to come along.
Frankly, their vote really isn’t that important… so why invite them to offer unsolicited opinions? Keep the decision between the people who will be directly impacted by it.
Expecting everything to be perfect.
There is no such thing as a perfect property… not even new constructions! There is always bound to be a leaky faucet, an imperfection in the paint job, a chip in the hardwood floor, or something else that catches your eye.
And if you don’t see the imperfections when house hunting, rest assured something will come up on the home inspection report!
Never expect perfection. Instead, know when to compromise (especially on cosmetic issues) and when to be more concerned (on structural or systemic issues).
Falling in love with decor.
The best way to sell a house is to stage it methodically. The homeowner, who just wants to get the place sold, will surely put their best foot forward in this regard. That might mean you see some really lovely furniture or home decor.
But remember, with very few exceptions (mostly things mounted to the walls), none of that decor is going to stay with the house. Don’t get attached to the stuff. Instead, consider the space.
Learn More About Selling Your House
Those are our tips for house hunting… but what about getting a home sold?
If you’re selling your house, make sure you request your SOLD.com report today. In it, you’ll learn the best way to sell a house and meet all your real estate goals.