5 Mistakes Buyers Make
I was recently asked what the biggest mistake I see buyers make. I have worked with hundreds of Buyers and while they are all different, there are some pitfalls that I see repeatedly. Hopefully you can learn from others and not have to experience these yourself. At very least, if you find yourself falling into one of these holes, get out as quickly as possible!
- Thinking they need to see EVERY SINGLE HOUSE in the area in their price range before making a decision.
I have clients make a list of wants, needs, and deal breakers. With most clients, if they have given us all the information in the initial meeting as far as what they are looking for, we can find a good fit for them in 10 houses or less. Don’t insist on seeing all houses in a neighborhood if they don’t all fit your criteria. You don’t need to see the house if it is significantly above your price range if you are in a Seller’s market. Chances are, the seller is not going to give you a significant discount off their house just because you like it. Of course, there are always exceptions, however, this is where a good Realtor can help by running comps and finding out if they are overpriced or within the market.
I had an initial meeting with a prospective client one Monday afternoon. When the couple arrived, the wife had a flyer in her hand that they had picked up at an open house the day before. The loved the house. As we discussed their wants, needs, and deal breakers, they agreed that this house fit all their needs and checked most of the boxes they were looking for. They had looked enough online that they weren’t worried about something better coming along next week. Before they left my office, I helped them write an offer on the house I hadn’t even seen in person. That was May of 2012 and they still live in the same house today. So, guess what? They made the right decision and didn’t regret not spending every weekend for 6 weeks looking at houses!
- Believing “if it’s meant to be, it will still be there”.
I am all about people praying before they make a decision – especially with a decision as significant as buying a house. If that is your belief, then by all means, do it. I also think we have brains for a reason and people are put into our path in the form of mentors or advisors for a reason, like Realtors. If your Realtor tells you that if you want a house, you’d better not wait because it will be gone, LISTEN TO THEM! You hired this person for a reason. If you don’t trust them and think they are feeding you a line to get you to buy something, you probably need to choose another agent. If you do trust them, then they are telling you this for a reason. It’s great to ask questions and they should explain why this may be the case. If it is a Seller’s market and you are looking in a highly desirable area, chances are, they are right. All it takes is losing one or two houses that you thought were perfect to understand that your agent has your best interest in mind.
- Relying too much on others’ opinions about the house/neighborhood, etc.
It’s understandable that buyers may want to bring a friend or family member along to house hunt. Sometimes there is even someone financially involved that makes it necessary. However, I caution against giving them too much power to persuade. Remember that list of wants, needs, and deal breakers? You need to go back to those and make sure the house fits you. You are the one living in it, even if you aren’t the one paying for it entirely. I have seen entire van loads of people get out at a second showing of a house. The result was the buyers were so overwhelmed by all the varying opinions that they couldn’t make a decision and ultimately the house sold to another buyer. The next time around, they came alone and were able to make a decision based on their own wants and needs, not their family’s.
- Buying above their comfort level.
Always get pre-approved before you start serious home shopping. You need to know what you can afford, and by “afford”, I don’t just mean how much of a loan you can get. You need to figure out how much you are comfortable paying on a monthly basis. I have many clients that are approved for much more than they are comfortable paying. I have seen excited buyers fall into the trap of getting starry eyed over a property and then realizing they really can’t afford it. Don’t become house poor, having your money so tied up in your house that you can’t/enjoy your everyday life. You will still want to eat out and go to movies. You will still want to take a vacation. There is so much more to life than having the biggest and the best of what you can afford. Be smart about your finances.
- Overlooking houses for cosmetic reasons.
If you fall into this category, you must read my blog, “It’s Just Paint”. Very few houses will be “move-in ready” to the point that you wouldn’t change one thing. The carpet may be worn, you may not like the paint color, or it may need to blinds on the windows. The million-dollar question is; does it check all or most of the boxes? If your boxes include “not having to do a single thing,” you need to re-think your criteria.
The bottom line is, be realistic, be smart, and listen to your Realtor!
Michelle Froedge is a residential Realtor and Principal Broker in the Greater Nashville and Williamson County areas of Tennessee. “Mom” to four-legged fur baby, Tyler, Auntie to Zelamie, she is a vegetarian and sings in her spare time. Michelle has lived in Nashville and Franklin since 1997 and has been selling homes since 2004.