Like everything else, there are a lot of misunderstandings and half-truths regarding the home buying experience. For first time homebuyers, owning a home is often a dream come true. Yet the process can be full of ups and downs, especially if you are given bad information. But many buyers, particularly those buying a home for the first time, often let their heart control the process, rather than their heads. Let’s face it; buying a home can be an emotional time. But it needs to be regarded for what it is: a business transaction. Sound impersonal? Yes, but if you go into this often unpredictable experience with a solid goal of finding the best home for you at the best price, and leave your emotions at the front door, then you are way ahead of the game and will find yourself with the upper hand in the negotiating process.
Beware of these myths:
The House Will Talk To You
As real estate agents, we often hear from buyers that a house, “will speak to me,” if they feel a home is worth considering. This is often not the case. Sometimes, a buyer needs to look at a property a few times before they decide it is the right home for them. It isn’t always “love at first sight,” but rather, “like at first sight.”
The Listing Information Is Never Wrong
Never take a listing sheet for their word. There are times the square footage is wrong, the number of closets or what you would consider a home office as opposed to what the buyer believes is a bedroom. What is a “finished basement” to you might mean something different to the seller, so always verify. If something doesn’t seem right, then by all means, ask your real estate agent.
Finding the Perfect Home
First of all, rarely is there such a thing as the “perfect home.” Remember, buying a home is full of compromises and this is something we see every day. Before you even begin the house hunt, make a wish list, and then make it a point to say to yourself that there is a very good chance you won’t get everything on that list. What is the deal breaker for you? What is it that you cannot live without in a new home? A large backyard? A specific school district? Let your real estate agent know that while you would prefer 4 bedrooms, you won’t compromise on anything less than 2 bathrooms.
Buy As Much House As You Can Afford
Based upon the recent condition of the real estate market, this should never be the goal of the buyer, to spend the maximum that they can. Up until recently, it was common to see a couple living large in mega mansions simply because they could. Now, we are seeing clients looking for homes that not only make financial sense, but also allow them to live comfortably and not excessively. Smaller homes are more popular to buyers these days. Those selling larger homes are finding that it takes longer to find a buyer.
The Value Of Home Will Increase
Unfortunately, this is no longer the case in the sense that we are not seeing the tremendous growth that we did several years ago. Certainly there are some markets that are hotter than others, however, it’s unrealistic to think that the home you are buying for $300,000 today, will be worth $400,000 in a couple of years. The best thing to do is talk to your real estate agent about what is happening in your local real estate market. Historically, home values appreciate by 2 to 5 percent per year.
There are other myths that stand out as well and certainly not limited to the five above. For example, many buyers will feel they bid too much if their offer was accepted right away. What I tell a client in this situation is that many homeowners know when they are getting a good bid and they won’t hesitate to accept it considering today’s market. Not only that, if you have a pre-approval letter from your lender, that’s always a huge plus for a seller. And overall, if you are comfortable with the offer you made, then don’t second-guess. Remember, if both you and the seller are happy, then it’s a good business deal.
So for first time home buyers, take into consideration that a home won’t speak to you, there is no such thing as a perfect home and to double-check all facts on the listing sheet. Instead, go into a home with an open mind and leave your emotions, if possible at home. Yes, this is easier said than done. Let me suggest the following for those buying a home for the first time, which are proven facts and myth free.
This is no myth. This is important so sellers will know you can afford the home and often serves in your favor when you are involved in a bidding war. Also, it gives you a clear idea on how much you can spend.
View Top Choices At Least Twice
After looking at several homes, it’s always a good idea to go back and see your top choices again. Often, you will see a home with different eyes and notice features that were overlooked the first time.
You Don’t Need To See Every Home For Sale
In a buyer’s market, it is not uncommon for a buyer to say that they want to see every home in their price range. As New Windsor real estate agents, we gently suggest that a new buyer make a list of their wants and circle their “must have’s.” (Go back and read #3). If you are dead set on having a home in a specific neighbourhood, then it doesn’t seem necessary to see every house in town. A good real estate agent will listen to your needs and wants and arrange to show only those homes that match. Motivated buyers usually find homes within two weeks.