Buyer Tips - 12 Mistakes Buyers Make

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308

If you are considering buying a new home, these 12 Home Buyer Tips will help you avoid making mistakes. Owning your own home is the single largest investment most people make, so it pays to do your homework and avoid these pitfalls. Incorporate these buyer tips into your next home purchase:

Buyers need a team of professionals1. Thinking you can do it yourself. Successful business people always form a team around them. You need a team of professionals around you, from your Realtor®, your Loan Officer, your Building Inspector, and so forth. It's great to research your own information, but then vet it with professionals who are in the trenches daily and can keep you informed as to market trends and what is really the right purchase price and location for you. Be sure you select an agent whom you feel comfortable with and trust.

2. Selecting your Loan Officer because they quote the cheapest interest rate. When comparing lenders and their closing costs, be sure you are looking at Good Faith Estimates that compare 'apples to apples' - in other words, the same closing costs. Some lenders will quote a low interest rate but have very high lender fees, so the lender with the higher interest rate might actually be cheaper. Be sure you pay attention to the APR (Annual Percentage Rate) which will disclose the true cost of the loan. It is risky to try a lender that doesn't have a track record with anyone you know.

There are some unscrupulous lenders (some on the internet) who promise very low rates, than switch them just prior to closing, saying "that program is no longer available." It is wise to choose a lender who has a good reputation for honesty and integrity and who can actually fund the loan, not just quote a rate.

3. Believing there is only one perfect house out there. This is where the 80/20 rule comes in. If you can find a house that has 80% of what you are looking for, buy it! Only if you build a house and money is no object, will you ever find 100% of what you want. Consider what you need in a house and demand that. Structural options are more important than cosmetic. Location trumps everything. You can always add wood flooring later, but that third bathroom will be hard to install.

4. Making an offer on a home without being pre-qualified. Does anybody do this anymore? This seems self-explanatory - if you don't know how much house you can afford, then you're not ready to make an offer.

5. Not having a home inspection and wood destroying organism inspection. This is the best money you will spend in the whole transaction. Selecting the most thorough inspectors can save you money down the road. Sellers usually pay for repairs when you are buying a Home Inspectors are very importanthome, but later it will be your expense. If there are extra inspections you can do, take advantage of this time to find out everything you can about the house.

Can you see yourself up on this roof and do you even know what he is doing?

6. Not buying a home warranty insurance plan. The Sellers usually pay for this. We have always gotten our money's worth on every one we have bought. This is prudent for Buyers, especially first time homebuyers.

7. Not considering long term needs. Is the home large enough for an expanding family? Will it be too large in a couple of years? Does the location work for school for the children for the long term? Will the commute distance work if you change jobs? Will the house be relatively easy to sell? (provided it is well maintained) Buying the smaller house in a better neighborhood will be better in the long run than the same house in a smaller home neighborhood just because it has upgrades.

8. Making any change in your financial situation - job, purchases, credit, etc. Do not change jobs. Do not resign from your job. Do not make any large purchases. Do not open any credit cards. Check with your loan officer for other glitches that could cause your loan to be denied. Just don't make any changes and don't buy anything except groceries and other normal purchases. DO NOT DO ANYTHING THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR DEBT-TO-INCOME RATIO.

9. Not knowing the total costs involved in buying a home. If you've been an apartment dweller, consider the cost of keeping up with a lawn (buying a mower or hiring a yard service), utility costs, property taxes and other taxes, and possible upcoming maintenance. It's no fun to buy a home and be 'house poor' where you can't enjoy life because the house is eating up every extra dollar you have. Also, homeowners insurance costs and coverage are important to know. Make sure you have proper coverage, not just the cheapest insurance.

Put the pieces of the puzzle together for a successful transaction10. Limiting your search to the internet, magazine and newspaper ads, or open houses. This goes back to #1 where a strong professional comes in. Take advantage of your real estate agent who can find homes that you may not have considered. Realize that often people buy houses that are not at all what their original search criteria was.

11. Not following through on due diligence. When there are questions, it is up to the buyer and their agent to follow through. It is important to know where roads are going through, what really is behind that conservation and is that really conservation or could houses be built behind it? Are there zoning issues that need to be addressed?

12. Renting when buying a home is more affordable. Do the math. For many people, they actually come out ahead buying a home. Consider the tax advantages of homeownership, as well as the satisfaction that having your own place brings. Our son's kindergarten teacher (husband was college professor) owned a beach home, as well as their home in town. When we visited, she confided that when they were in graduate school, they were the only ones who owned a home and that if they hadn't owned a home then, they would not be able to afford the beach home they owned today.

So do your homework, find your area of town, and focus in on what criteria are most important. Find a Realtor(r) whom you feel comfortable with and a Loan Office whom you trust, and get ready for the excitement of your new home!

13. BAKER'S DOZEN! Location, Location, Location. Do not buy a home without giving serious thought to the location. It's one of the oldest and truest sayings in real estate. Why is it so important? In today's market, location can make the difference between a home selling or not. Homes on crummy lots sit and sit. The only way they will sell is to practically give them away. Homes in marginal neighborhoods will not sell. When there are many houses to choose from, inferior locations lose out every time.

HAPPY HOUSE HUNTING! If there is anything we can help you with, give us a call! We are ready to help you with your Move Up or First Home Purchase. Use these 12 Buyer Tips for a successful purchase when you buy your next home.

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About the Author: Sharon Alters works with her husband, Frank. They are in the top 5% real estate agents for production in the Jacksonville Florida area, specializing in Military and Corporate Relocation in the Fleming Island, Orange Park, St. Johns, St. Augustine and Beaches areas. Their local knowledge can help Relocating Buyers find the perfect lifestyle, whether it is a Castle on the Ocean, or a Cottage in the Country. 

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Re-Blogged 15 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Todd & Devona Garrigus 03/05/2010 02:23 PM
  2. Duane Murphy 03/05/2010 02:40 PM
  3. Jim Frimmer 03/08/2010 02:25 PM
  4. Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can! 03/08/2010 02:33 PM
  5. Kathy Schowe 03/08/2010 04:01 PM
  6. Gabe Sanders 03/08/2010 10:38 PM
  7. Barbara Martino-Sliva, Top Producer 03/08/2010 11:17 PM
  8. Lisa Schlitz 03/08/2010 11:18 PM
  9. Charles Stallions 03/09/2010 01:52 PM
  10. Christa Hobart 03/10/2010 10:42 AM
  11. Tina D Saporito, Your Dedicated Palm Desert, CA Realtor Since 2005 03/19/2010 05:26 AM
  12. Michele Reneau 03/19/2010 05:47 AM
  13. Vicky Henry 07/09/2010 03:16 AM
  14. Michael Collins 07/09/2010 03:33 AM
  15. Susan Laxson CRS 07/09/2010 03:45 AM
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Gary Swanson
Century 21 Harris & Taylor - Grants Pass, OR

Great tips Sharon.  All potential buyers should be reading this post.  I can't believe the number of people out there who don't get pre-qualified before starting their house hunting.  How do they even know what kind of dollar parameters to use?

Mar 05, 2010 04:32 PM #5
Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

#3 is so spot on!  I almost want to reblog this and buy a domain for it!  Buyers cannot fall in love with one house right now in our market at this time = 50 other buyers have done the same!

Mar 06, 2010 07:48 AM #6
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

South Austin, I'm going to read that post - great title!

William James, let's hope so!

Renee, thanks! Frank learned this when he was selling yachts in Marina del Ray and it helps a lot with Buyers.

Mar 06, 2010 01:20 PM #7
Ryan Shaughnessy
PREA Signature Realty - - Saint Louis, MO
Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner

Sharon - Great List - I would add "shopping by exclusion" and the "backseat advisor".  That is, the buyer who doesn't want to miss a great deal and, therefore, has to see everything as well as the buyer who has 5 advisors (none of whom is the real estate agent representing them).

Mar 07, 2010 11:47 PM #8
Russel Ray, San Diego Business & Marketing Consultant & Photographer
Russel Ray - San Diego State University, CA

The answer to your question in #5 is that there's a burglar or a peeping tom on the roof! LOL

Come join the fun in ActiveRain's Guerrilla Marketing Team Contest.

Mar 08, 2010 02:24 PM #9
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Ryan, yes, both excellent mistakes Buyers make. In fact, I wrote a post last year about the Buyer who had many advisors.

Russel, lol - you can get away with that because you have been an inspector :)

Mar 08, 2010 02:28 PM #10
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Your post is so timely and so very true! I'd like to re-blog as well to pass this along to those buyers who insist on doing it themselves. Thank you Sharon!

Mar 08, 2010 02:30 PM #11
Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

Hi Sharon - I have seen clients do nearly all of these things, even sometimes after I have warned them!  They always think their situation is different.  I had one client buy a truck during escrow which did a number on his credit score!  His reason:  I've been wanting a truck for awhile, and I'll need one to move so I thought this was the perfect time.  Wrong!

Mar 08, 2010 02:32 PM #12
Don Sabinske
Don Sabinske, Sabinske & Associates Inc. - Zimmerman, MN
Sabinske & Associates Inc.

Sharon, I think you covered it all.  Great post.  This one is worth framing. The buyers need a lession in reality.  We give them that.  But it can't hurt to show them your perspecitve as well. 

Mar 08, 2010 02:32 PM #13
Dr. Stacey-Ann Baugh
Century 21 New Millennium - Upper Marlboro, MD
A doctor who makes house calls.

This is a great post.  I am going to reblog this.  I might need to give a copy to my clients at the first meeting.

Mar 08, 2010 02:46 PM #14
Kathy Schowe
California Lifestyle Realty - La Quinta, CA
La Quinta, California 760-333-8886

Terrific post!!  I will re-blog for sure!  I think the final tip... Location,location, location.... is the MOST important!  Kathy

Mar 08, 2010 04:00 PM #15
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Great post Frank and Sharon.  Excellent points.  I hope you don't mind my re-blogging it. 

Mar 08, 2010 10:37 PM #16
Leslie Helm
Tennessee Recreational Properties - Jamestown, TN
Real Estate For Trail Riders

Hi, Sharon. I read this on Jim Frimmer's blog and wanted to comment. I have an offer on the table as we speak and the buyers are doing due diligence. They have asked some very astute questions and I commend them. It's a pleasure working with such thoughtful, careful, intelligent, well-informed people.

Mar 08, 2010 11:12 PM #17
Lisa Schlitz
Home Run Real Estate, Inc. - Wellington, FL
Realtor - Wellington, Florida Homes 561-214-3216

Hi Sharon,

Great tips-can I re-blog? I love the one about the perfect house-too many buyers lining up for that one house these days!

Mar 08, 2010 11:21 PM #18
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Wanda, please reblog it - spread the word around to help Buyers avoid these mistakes.

Susan, wow. Sorry that happened to you, but I have heard of this happening before also when people had been told. I guess they think it won't apply to their situation.

Don, thanks for the compliment! :)

Dr. Stacey-Ann, thank you! I might do the same.

Kathy, I could give so many examples of houses that are not selling because of location in this market. I'm sure you could, too.

Gabe, thanks for the re-blog!

Leselie, isn't that great? I also love working with informed Buyers. This post is intended for the ones who are not informed and prone to making these mistakes.

Lisa, absolutely you can re-blog this post. Please do, it's the ultimate compliment!


Mar 09, 2010 01:22 AM #19
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

A lot of good tips here.  The most important in my humble opinion is that the buyer hire a buyer's agent to represent their interests.

Mar 09, 2010 01:58 PM #20
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.
Such good tips and I reblogged it as well. Thanks for sharing, I am e-mailing this to each member of my team.
Mar 11, 2010 01:45 AM #21
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Joan, yes, that is why it is #1!

Charles, thanks and I hope they find it useful! :)

Mar 11, 2010 01:56 AM #22
Michael Collins
*ROCK REALTY|Broker|Realtor|Real Estate|WI Short Sale Agent* - Janesville, WI
CDPE, SFR , Wisconsin Short Sale Specialist Realto

Just coming across this great blog.  I'll be re-blogging to keep it going!

Jul 09, 2010 03:27 AM #23
Susan Laxson CRS
Palm Properties - La Quinta, CA
Local Knowledge & Global Network

Sharon, great list that someone re-blogged and I was able to read it this time around!  Thank you for the post!  ~ Susan

Jul 09, 2010 03:44 AM #24
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Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL
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