No matter which way you look at it, buying a home is a major investment. But for many homebuyers, it can be an even more expensive process than it needs to be since they fall prey to at least a few of the many common and costly mistakes which trap them into either:
paying too much for the home they want, or
losing their dream home to another buyer or,
(worse) buying the wrong home for their needs.
A systemized approach to the home buying process can help you steer clear of these common traps, allowing you to not only cut costs but also secure the home that's best for you.
9 Buyer Traps
This important report discusses the 9 most common and costly homebuyer traps, how to identify them, and what you can do to avoid them:
1. Bidding Blind
What price should you offer when you bid on a home? Is the seller's asking price too high, or does it represent a great deal? If you fail to research the market in order to understand what comparable homes are selling for, making your offer would be like bidding blind. Without this knowledge of market value, you could easily bid too much, or fail to make a competitive offer at all on an excellent value.
2. Buying the Wrong Home
What are you looking for in a home? A simple enough question, but the answer can be quite complex. More often than not, buyers have been swept up in the emotion and excitement of the buying process only to find themselves the owner of a home that is either too big or too small. Maybe they're stuck with a longer than desired commute to work, or a dozen more fix-ups than they really want to deal with now that the excitement has died down. Take the time upfront to clearly define your wants and needs. Put it in writing and then use it as a yardstick with which to measure every home you look at.
3. Unclear Title
Make sure very early on in the negotiation that you will own your new home free and clear by having a title search completed. The last thing you want to discover when you're in the backstretch of a transaction is that there are encumbrances on the property such as tax liens, undisclosed owners, easements, leases, or the like.
4. Inaccurate Survey
As part of your offer to purchase, make sure you request an updated property survey that clearly marks your boundaries. If the survey is not current, you may find that there are structural changes that are not shown (e.g. additions to the house, a new swimming pool, a neighbor's new fence which is extending a boundary line, etc.). Be very clear on these issues.
5. Undisclosed Fix-ups
Don't expect every seller to own up to every physical detail that will need to be attended to. Both you and the seller are out to maximize your investment. Ensure that you conduct a thorough inspection of the home early in the process. Consider hiring an independent inspector to objectively view the home inside and out, and make the final contract contingent upon this inspector's report. This inspector should be able to give you a report of any item that needs to be fixed with associated, approximate cost.