13 Ways Buyers Can Step Up Their Game When Buying A House

The homebuying process can be scary for a lot of people. After all, it’s a big purchase and there is a lot of information floating around about what to do, when and why. Few first-time homebuyers are truly prepared for the process, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We asked 13 real estate experts from the Forbes Real Estate Council to fill us in on the common pitfalls of homebuying and how buyers can strengthen their position and seal the deal on their future home.

1. Homebuying Is Not What You See On Television

In a hot market, buyers are frequently not prepared to do what it takes to win: act quickly and decisively and present a strong offer at the beginning. Too many buyers are watching too much HGTV and think they “know better.” It generally requires that they lose out on a few houses before they understand that they are not in control. The sting of losing a house they love is sometimes the best teacher. – Thomas McCormackResources Real Estate

2. Stop Looking for Perfection

Homebuyers need to be aware that the perfect property does not exist. As long as the property comes with more pros than cons, and they can make those cons better by turning the property into their own version of perfection, then everything should go seamlessly. – Engelo RumoraList’n Sell Realty

3. Be Prepared To Make Compromises

You may not be able to get everything you want in a home. Maybe you can get a home for the price you want in the location you want, but it needs repairs. Or maybe you find the perfect move-in ready home in the ideal location, but it’s more than you wanted to spend. You need to be ready to make compromises. Make a list of things you absolutely must have, and make a list of “would be nice” items. – Will FeatherstoneFeatherstone & Co.

4. Mind Your Budget, Not Everyone Else’s

What your friends, family and colleagues can “afford” is not your barometer. Your comfort level should reflect items including loans and debt. Whatever your number, remember: Owning a home is more than just your monthly payment. Consider utilities, tax and deferred maintenance items. Buy a home you can truly afford. The bottom line: Know your expenses. – Brian LawtonProperty Revival Realty

5. Evaluate Your Needs Vs. Wants

Homebuyers should separate their needs from wants. You might need bedrooms for each person, but want a game room. There is no “perfect” house, so understanding what you really need and communicating that clearly to your agent is very important.  Agents will do a better job for you — and the process will move much more quickly — when they understand the things that you really need in a new home. – Jeremy BrandtWe Buy Houses®

6. Become Financially Literate In The Process

Understanding the financing process of a home purchase can be really intimidating. After all, for most of us, this will be the largest purchase ever made in life! Don’t let the fear of unknown paralyze you. Find a real estate agent and lender who will educate you through the process and take the time to answer your questions. – Katie BrownThe Paramount Group at Windermere

7. Be Prepared For The Mountain Of Necessary Documentation

The agent and the mortgage broker need to proactively educate their clients with focus and intent at every step, and that’s really where the onus should lie. That said, buyers should read up on all the asks that will be made. These days, mortgage companies ask for an intimidating amount of information, so the better prepared you are ahead of time, the less you’ll need to scramble. – Gino ZahndCozy

8. Secure Your Pre-Approval Before Home Shopping

Always get a formal pre-approval completed before going out to view homes. It will prevent you from investing a lot of time in finding a home, and offering on one, only to be disappointed that your mortgage wasn’t approved. You may also be approved for more or less than you realize, so it takes the guesswork out of how much you can buy a home for. – Allan RankinRe/Max Royal Properties Realty Ltd. Brokerage

9. Throw Out The Lowball Offer Mindset When Buying A Home

I’ve seen it all too many times: a hot market and a buyer who wants to submit a lowball offer, then wonders why the seller didn’t accept his offer. If you are looking for the house of your dreams and find it, then pay full purchase price if houses are flying off the shelves in that neighborhood. Sellers become offended if your offer is ridiculously low. – Angela YaunDay Realty Group

10. Know Your Lender And What They Can Offer You

Financing is greatly misunderstood and not all lenders are created equal. Homebuyers share very common misconceptions about financing. Make sure you are referred to a trustworthy loan officer who will give you the best options for your situation. Also do it very early in the process. Nothing will frustrate you more than falling in love with a house you can’t have. – Long DoanREALTY GROUP, INC.

11. Know Thy Neighbor Before You Buy

Not to get biblical on you, but you must know thy neighbor. This is one of the most important things to figure out when buying your home. Who are your neighbors? Can you meet them first? Are they noisy? Are they racist? Are they criminals? A lot of times your real estate agent is not going to know. So you have to get them to investigate on your behalf or do some research on your own. – Chris RyanBEYOND Properties Group

12. Be Ready To Make An Offer

Too many buyers are simply not ready to make an offer. Typically it is because they have not done their homework. As a prospective buyer, you must already understand the schools, travel times, financing options and cash required on the properties you view. As an investor, you must be confident about any repairs and understand how the condition and location may impact your ability to perform. – Tim Herriage, 2020 REI Group

13. Trust the Expert, Not the Online Valuation

Websites like Zillow and Redfin make it easy for buyers to have an idea on pricing for a home. Although sometimes they can help give buyers a “ballpark” on what a home is worth, they should never be used as the one and only resource to assess a home’s value. The best agents will give you the data and the intel behind it. They get inside the home and they know the market dynamics. That’s not something an online algorithm can provide. – Brad LeClimb Real Estate

– 13 Ways Buyers Can Step Up Their Game When Buying A House

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