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Cover story: Mistakes first-timer buyers can avoid
- Spending too much before settlement
“One of the biggest mistakes a homebuyer can make is to assume everything is in place before settlement and begin spending money,” Mrs. Thatcher says. “Sometimes people are eager to furnish their new home, or they want a new car to go along with the new house, and they don’t realize that the lender will do another credit check before settlement.
“Even if the financing contingency is gone from the contract, the lender will still run the borrower’s credit again before the closing. If their credit score has dropped or they have taken on too much additional debt, they may no longer be able to qualify for the mortgage. This can jeopardize the whole transaction.”
- A too-narrow or too-broad vision of the perfect home
Mrs. Thatcher says homebuyers often think they will find the perfect home, not realizing it rarely exists.
“At each initial buyer consultation, I have the buyers make an independent list of what they think they need in a home and what they want in a home,” Mrs. Thatcher says.
“It’s especially important for a husband and wife to do this separately and then come together for a discussion on where they can compromise. These lists are a good place to start, but then people need to be open to changing their minds as they begin to visit properties. Sometimes they realize that while a two-car garage is nice, they might make better use of a finished basement instead.”
Ms. Darling says first-time buyers often limit themselves by insisting on a certain home style and refusing to visit other types of property.
“My mentor told me years ago that ‘every home is someone’s castle.’ I believe that buyers need to be more open-minded about looking at homes, especially if they are inexperienced buyers,” Ms. Darling says.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are buyers who are so open-minded they visit far too many potential homes.
“Buyers sometimes look at too many homes, to the point that they can’t figure anything out,” Mr. Green says. “The role of the agent is to help buyers narrow their priorities, because seeing too many homes leaves everyone confused and muddles up the buyer’s personal criteria.”
Mr. Green says that while buyers typically evaluate hundreds of properties online, they should physically visit only a dozen or so homes that meet their needs.
“Seeing too many homes is a sign that the buyers are not ready financially or emotionally to buy a home,” Mr. Green says. “The likelihood also becomes higher that they are seeing homes that are not in their price range.”
- Not visualizing the potential in a home
Ms. Parker says buyers often get hung up on the cosmetic details of a home and do not think about the possibility of having a home painted or flooring replaced after the settlement date but before they move in.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
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