Take it from us: the house hunting process can be intimidating. When you’re making such a big decision, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and take shortcuts that can jeopardize your success. As one of Windsor’s top real estate teams, we have a lot of experience partnering with many different potential homeowners, and work hard to ensure that we find and show houses for sale that fit our clients’ needs, and their budgets.
However, there are some mistakes that we see our clients making over and over again that can completely derail their house hunting experience. Today, we’ll talk about some of these extremely common mistakes, and how you can work through each of them to ensure a successful and stress-free house hunt.
1. Not coming in with a budget
One of the biggest mistakes that buyers make is not coming into their search with a budget. This is part of the process that your real estate agent cannot help you with. Not coming in with a budget makes it extremely difficult for real estate agents to find you the right house, which can lead to a long and protracted house hunt that’s frustrating for all involved.
Instead of making your decision based on what houses you see, come up with a budget before you even speak to a real estate agent. Knowing your budget in advance will help narrow down your search, and give real estate agents somewhere to work from, so you’re not being dragged to viewings for houses that are way out of your price range.
2. Skipping mortgage pre-approval
Another key task that needs to be done before you start viewing homes is to get pre-approved with a mortgage lender. Being pre-approved is a great way to show sellers that you’re serious, and without one, it’s unlikely that they’ll even accept your bid.
Without mortgage pre-approval, you’ll have to do the entire mortgage lending process in the middle of a contract negotiation, which is stressful as well as a huge waste of everyone’s time.
If you don’t get exactly what you want, you’ll be forced to walk away from a home that you’ve gotten attached to, which is disheartening. Skip the stress and heartache by getting pre-approved, which can also help you narrow down your search by price.
3. Picking the wrong agent
There are many different types of real estate agents, and finding the right one is an important part of the house hunting process. Your real estate agent should be adept at their job, but your personalities should mesh as well. They should know the local area and be well-versed in the type of real estate you’re looking to purchase.
If you find that your agent has misrepresented their qualifications, doesn’t know the local area well, or is aggressively trying to sell you on houses that you aren’t interested in, there’s no harm in cutting ties so that you can find a new agent. You should never feel pressured to purchase something as important as a home.
To avoid picking the wrong agent, make sure to speak to several before you commit to one, and ask them as many questions as you need to feel reassured about their qualifications, and their approach to the home buying process. Don’t be shy about asking them how long they’ve worked in the area, how many buyers they’re working with at one time, and how often they’re in touch with clients.
4. Not using your imagination
When you see a house for the first time, it’s important to use your imagination to look beyond its current state, so you can picture how you might use it if you lived there. Too many people dismiss homes with old furniture, peeling paint, or unkempt yards because they can’t look beyond the surface to see the good bones underneath. You’ll miss a lot of great houses if you can’t use your imagination.
The same principle applies for houses on the opposite end of the spectrum, that are staged beautifully and smell like freshly laundered linen. It’s easy to overlook real flaws and drawbacks when you see a home that’s well put together. Make sure you check those feelings of excitement to confirm that you’re in love with the house itself, not just the staging.
5. Not exploring the neighbourhood
As you fall in love with the interior of a home, it’s important to determine whether or not you could picture yourself living in that neighbourhood. Homes don’t just exist in a bubble.
Before you’re attached to a home, take a drive around the neighbourhood, and make sure it has the amenities your family requires. Pay attention to who lives nearby, how busy the area is, and what transportation access is available. If you’re serious about the home, drive through a few times, at different times of the day, to ensure you get an accurate impression of the neighbourhood.
6. Rushing your decision
Not a lot of people can make great decisions in a rush. The more desperate and anxious you feel, the more likely it is that you’ll be making a decision using instinct, rather than reason and logic. Plus, if you pick a place that you wind up hating, it will cost you thousands of dollars (or more) to fix your mistake.
Instead, try and calm down if you’re feeling like you need to make a decision immediately. There will always be more houses. You can always take a few days off from the house hunt to re-centre yourself and come up with a new game plan moving forward.
Ready to Get Your Hunt Started?
If you’ve read through our list of potential mistakes for new home buyers and thought: “bring it on!”, we’d love to talk to you! The agents on the Dan Gemus Real Estate team are experienced in the local market, and love to partner with new home buyers to help guide them through a successful house hunt.
If you’re ready to get your house hunt started, or just want to speak to one of our agents to see if they’d be a good match for you, feel free to get in touch any time. We also have more resources for potential homeowners on our blog, if you’d like to keep reading before you dive in.