45 Mistakes that Home Buyers can Make!

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Fred Griffin Real Estate Florida Broker BK436788

     Buying a Home may be the most expensive purchase of your lifeIt may be an extremely complex transaction that cannot be easily undone.  You must proceed with extreme caution, flanked by experts who have your best interests at heart.

     Before you start looking at houses, before you sign legally binding documents, before you put down a large cash deposit, consider the following Buyer Mistakes: 




1.  Not getting your finances in order before starting.

2.  Not getting a Pre-Approval letter from a Mortgage Lender (or a Proof of Funds letter if you are paying cash).

3. Not providing all requested paperwork (tax returns, bank statements, etc.) to the Lender.



4.  Not understanding the Brokerage Relationship that you have with the Agent or Broker you are working with. 

5.  Not having a Fiduciary relationship with the Broker or Agent you are working with.* 

6.  Signing a "Buyer's Broker Contract" or "Buyer Brokerage Agreement" that does not provide a Fiduciary to you.*

     *See an Attorney for legal advice before signing any paperwork.  Ask the attorney to explain Fiduciary Relationship.   



 Excerpt from Florida Statute 475.278, Single Agent Notice



5.  Not understanding your local housing market trends.

6.  Calling the Seller's Agent on the yard sign, thinking that they can get you the best deal.

7.  Assume that the agent whose photograph is next to the description on Zillow.com or Realtor.com is the Listing Agent.

8.  Work with an inexperienced real estate agent, or a real estate agent whose only objective is to close the sale and get the commission.



Tip Your Hand during Negotiations


9.  Tipping your Hand during Negotiations.  For example, telling a listing agent "I will offer $350,000 - but if I have to, I can go as high as $385,000".






10.  Relying on Verbal Statements from the Seller, or from the Seller's Agent.

11.  Not understanding what Homeowner's Insurance costs, or what it covers.


12.  Not understanding local Property Taxes and Property Tax Exemptions.

13.  Relying on the current Property Tax Assessment.




14.  Not vetting the Homeowners Association or the Condominium Association.

15. Not thoroughly reviewing Deed Restrictions, HOA Documents, and/or Condominium Documents.

16.  Not purchasing, receiving, or understanding a Home Warranty.

17.  Not getting a Home Inspection.  That includes inspections of the swimming pool, the well, the septic tank, the lawn sprinkler irrigation system, and other equipment.


18.  Not getting legal advice from an Attorney, and/or not making your contract contingent upon Attorney Review.

19.  Relying on Tax or Financial Advice from someone other than a CPA or qualified Financial professional.


20.  Making large purchases on credit, after getting loan pre-approval.

21.  Changing or quitting your job, after loan pre-approval.

22.  Not getting Owner's Title Insurance.

23.  Agreeing to pay certain closing costs because the agent tells you, "That's the custom here".

25.  Not reviewing the Real Estate Contract and other forms in advance.

26.  Not reviewing the Closing Documents in advance.

27.  Fail to allow enough time for contingencies (you wrote in 10 days for Home Inspections, but the local Inspectors are backed up for 3 weeks).

28.  You plan to renovate or remodel a property, but you do not contact the Building Department to see if it is permissible.

29.  Assume that you will get a great deal because, "It's a Foreclosure".




30.  Not having a Real Estate Attorney involved when you buy a Foreclosure or Short Sale.

31.  Fail to check with County Zoning for any changes or plans for the neighborhood or area.

32.  Fail to plan for additional costs that arise after you move into the house (furniture, window blinds, etc.).



33.  Buy a house in a bad location.

34.  Buy a house with poor ingress/egress.

35.  Fail to get a Crime Report from local police agencies.

36.  Fail to investigate the surrounding area and the adjoining properties.

37.  View the house during "quiet hours" when the neighbors are at work. You fail to come back after 5:00PM weekdays or on Saturdays when the music is loud and the neighborhood block parties are underway.

38.  Not talking to the neighbors.  They may know things that will send you away!






39.  Fail to understand that you are buying LAND, with improvements upon it.  Those shiny commercial appliances in the kitchen will become used appliances after you move in.  The house may settle and crack over the years.  The roof will be gone in 15, maybe 20 years.  That postage stamp-sized lot ("the dirt") is what you really own!

40.  Buy a house in a school zone that has a poor grade from the Florida Department of Education. Even if the Buyer has no children, an area with low-graded schools may have poor resale value.

41.  Fail to consider commuting time, and alternative transportation (city bus, Uber, bicycle lanes).  You may not care, but these things will affect resale value.

42.  No understanding of the costs and responsibility involved in maintaining a house.

43.  Compromising on important features (for example, buying a house with only one bathroom).

44. Fail to do a Final Walk Through Inspection shortly before Closing.



Reality TV Show Lighting Crew


45. Believe that those Real Estate TV shows on HGTV are the way it happens in real life.










House Buyer Mistakes Tallahassee Real Estate


     Buying a Home may be the most expensive purchase of your life. You must proceed with extreme caution, flanked by experts who have your best interests at heart.  Don't make any of the 45 mistakes listed above!



Posted by

Frederick Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker    







Tallahassee Florida Metropolitan Area    


Disclaimer:  Nothing in the above blog article is to be construed as legal advice, tax advice, or financial advice.  For legal advice see an attorney.   For tax advice or financial advice see a tax attorney, certified public accountant, or other qualified professional.


Comments (16)

Joseph Domino 480-390-6011
HomeSmart - Scottsdale, AZ
Real Estate Made Easy

Man, that's a lot of mistakes. They should probably get a good Realtor® to help them.

Dec 27, 2018 05:51 PM
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

Wow!  That is quite the comprehensive list of potential buyer pitfalls. Excellent. 

Dec 27, 2018 06:45 PM
Janice Zaltman
United Realty Group - Boca Raton, FL
Energy Efficient And Eco-Friendly Homes in Florida

Think a lot of it could be avoided by hiring a knowledgeable, experienced and diligent professional realtor.  Thought that most of the buyer broker agreements have a fiduciary responsiblity otherwise, why sign it?

Dec 27, 2018 08:20 PM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Hi Janice Zaltman Realtor, LEED AP 

       FAR (Florida Realtors) offers several versions of the Buyer Broker Agreement (EBBA).  Only ONE of those forms provides a fiduciary - the others are Transaction Brokerage.  Same with the Tallahassee Board Buyer Broker Contract... no fiduciary.  In my opinion they are misleading.  

Dec 27, 2018 08:24 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Fred. Quite the list that people seldom pay attention too as emotions rise. Enjoy your day!

Dec 28, 2018 04:52 AM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

That's a comprehensive list for sure - and most of it applies to the entire country, not just Florida.

Dec 28, 2018 07:48 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Fred Griffin Great list in our area we do not have attorney review nor attoneys involved in RE transactions unless their is a problem . Try home inspection clauses for longer than 10 days great way to lose a house .  Looks like your clients needs good representation

Dec 28, 2018 10:21 AM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Hi Hannah Williams   comment #7

       Several years ago in Tallahassee, the home inspectors were backlogged for several weeks (so were the appraisers).   Buyers checked off the boilerplate "10 Days", and then found themselves in trouble when no inspector could be scheduled.  Today, we have enough inspectors; you can typically schedule in 3 or 4 days max.  

Dec 28, 2018 10:57 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

 Fred Griffin your post has been

Featured in Bananatude


Dec 28, 2018 11:06 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Hi Fred,
I had to laugh at #42.  I was talking to a friend the other day who just bought her first house a few months ago.  She was shocked when she got a utility bill for water and sewer.  Apparently, renters don't know what is included in their rent that has to be paid separately as a homeowner. 

Dec 28, 2018 11:41 AM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Fred, great job compiling this list.  There are far more DO NOT's in the buying process than people realize.

Dec 28, 2018 01:37 PM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes™- by eXp Realty - Vancouver, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Hi there Fred. This is a great list and should convince anyone to hire an agent for representation. There are so many pitfalls in a RE transaction. 

Dec 29, 2018 07:50 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Fred

Any buyer reading this shouuld realize immediately that working with a Realtor is an essential thing to do to avoid mistakes, and there are clearly lots of ways to goof up!


Dec 29, 2018 03:24 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Fred, I beleive the last one might be as harmful as the others combined. 

Dec 29, 2018 06:27 PM
Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Thanks for sharing this very comprehensive list Fred Griffin. Buyers certainly don't know what they don't know and this list should be a necessary awakening for many.

Happy New Year!


Dec 30, 2018 06:06 PM
Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

I love this list! You make a lot of great points.

Jan 01, 2019 07:02 AM