Misconception: If you pay list price, you're paying too much.
If you don't know what the current market value is for homes in the area and whether the market is appreciating or depreciating, you don't know what a fair price is and you're likely to miss out on a great deal by trying to low ball a house that's already priced well.
If the house meets your goals, is within your budget, and is priced competitively, it's a bargain and you should make a strong offer. Get assistance from a professional to help you recognize a good deal and grab it before it's gone.
Misconception: Foreclosures and short sales are the best buys.
Many buyers find out the hard way that foreclosures and short sales are full of headaches, may need extensive repairs, require great patience over an extended period, often don't have the criteria that's most important to you, and may never close.
Short sales abound in Tallahassee and many people are starting to avoid them because the pain isn't worth the gain. Foreclosures can be less troublesome, but often in poor condition with challenges that may take longer than normal to resolve. Market prices have corrected in many places, including Tallahassee, and it's possible to find great deals in homes that are priced like short sales, but don't have the headaches.
Misconception You get a better price if you buy directly from the owner.
Bargain hunters sometimes avoid Realtors, thinking that they will get a better price if they buy directly from a FSBO. Meanwhile, the sellers are also trying to save on the commission, so they're not getting expert advice either and often price their homes above market value.
The end result is often that a buyer pays too much or the FSBO is unable to get the house sold. A savvy Realtor working on the buyer's behalf, armed with market data and great negotiation skills, is much more likely to get a great deal than buyers can by negotiating for themselves.
If you're buying a house, it's a great idea to find a good Realtor and listen to their advice.