You are driving down some dark, secluded country road with nothing in sight. You realize that you are far from home and there is just darkness surrounding you. No street lights, just lots of fields of black with hints of trees and something growing. It is so dark! As you check your mirrors you realize that you are alone and then you reach up to adjust your mirror and you hear a voice (from your client who is sitting in the passenger seat), “is the house really out here?” Just had to get your attention…
Everyone loves a good scary story from time to time but if you are looking for a home, that is not the case. Horror stories are meant to be said around a campfire, not during a home showing. Here is a list of potential nightmares that could occur throughout the home buying process.
Budget. When buying a home, you and your family or entourage need to fully understand your financial situation and status. How do you know what you can afford? Wouldn’t it be a nightmare if you got to the end of the transaction and realized that you couldn’t afford the payment? Banks and mortgage loan specialists would be able to help you find the answers you desperately need in this situation.
Credit. Credit is the entire basis of your mortgage. Work with your loan specialist to figure out how to make your credit work for your loan and then DON’T DO ANYTHING THAT WOULD AFFECT THAT!!! Do not run your credit to buy furniture or anything else for your new home until the home has CLOSED. Do not change jobs for any reason! Think before you do anything during the transaction period of buying a home. When in doubt, call me or your realtor AND contact your lender. Don’t Be That Home Buyer!
Preapproval. Don’t move an inch until you receive a preapproval for a mortgage. Pre-qualifications are nice but they are based on minimal data with little to no evidence to back up your claims. If and when you receive a preapproval, then you go to look at your list of potential new homes. If you go without the preapproval then you are setting yourself and your realtor up for failure because what happens when you find the absolute best house in the world and because you did not get the full preapproval, you were looking at homes $40,000 above your max loan amount. Again, know your budget, work with a loan specialist and wait for the preapproval.
Inspections. Inspections may cost some money out of pocket but the costs at the front end of the deal will alleviate many potentially bad situations in the end. **You should ALWAYS get homes inspected!! If you are using some form of financing then home inspections are usually required. You at least want a home inspection and a wood destroying insect inspection and there are many others that you may want as well. Ask your realtor and your chosen home inspector for all of the different home inspections that are available. Have you ever seen the movie “The Money Pit”? That will depict exactly why you need inspections done.
Get Everything in Writing. DO NOT shake someone’s hand and expect that the deal is sealed. Get everything on paper! Nothing like running into the “he said, she said” issue during the most expensive purchase you will ever make. There are laws and ethics involved in real estate for a reason.
Hidden Costs. If you think about the back end of what the most expensive deal you will be making could look like, there are fees associated with everything. Some may be transparent to you but they are there. There are inspection fees, appraisal fees, credit report fees, survey fees, loan application fees, insurances, taxes, escrows, etc. Pay attention to everything that takes place and ensure that you receive receipts for everything spent.
Falling in Love. Look at the home buying process as something very similar to dating. You don’t fall in love with the first person you date. You go out and look at many potential prospects and you choose the best of the bunch. If that one does not pan out for you for whatever reason then you have backups that you can turn to. What happens when a prospect jumps onto the market? Everyone is OOHing and AHHing over that prospect and they are the best thing since “sliced bread.” It would be nice to be able to turn feelings on and off like a light switch but you have to try to contain your excitement and emotional attachment of your next conquest because it may not work out for whatever reason.
**You need to contain your excitement and love for a property in front of a listing agent. If they know you love that house then they could have a ‘leg up’ in the negotiations and cause you to pay more.
At the end of the day, we all like horror stories but have no use for that kind of thing when looking at houses. There are so many things that could go wrong in a real estate transaction that I prefer to be upfront and honest from the very beginning and try to pass this data on to my clients. There is no room for heartbreak and negativity in a real estate deal. Once your new home closes, I will come and tell you a horror story if you want.
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