Looking for a place to settle down is both fun and stressful, and it’s also a time when emotional decisions are often made. Sadly, house hunting mistakes made by accident, oversight, or neglect can – and usually do – turn out to be a pretty costly affair, which is why homebuyers should stay on guard and watch out for red flags that can land a steep price tag in their lap post-purchase. So, what are the costliest mistakes homebuyers commonly make when looking for a place to call their own, and which property aspects should you treat as instant deal breakers?
1. Shopping outside your budget’s range
One of the common mistakes house hunters make is to look at high-end homes first and leave budget-friendlier property for later. The main problem with shopping outside your price range is risking to fall in love with a home you can’t afford: if that happens, it’ll be difficult to settle for a piece of property within your budget. To stay on the safe side of the real estate investment, it would be best to start by looking at low-end houses first: with a little luck and patience, you may just find a place that has most of the features you want in a home and fits your budget.
2. Settling for less than you really need
Another costly mistake homebuyers make is to settle for less than they actually need in a home. Even if the nest you’ve just seen has good bones and hot location, it doesn’t make it your dream home – nor does it mean you’ll get away without potentially costly repairs and updates, for that matter. The same is true of newly-built property: as swanky as that duplex may be, it won’t necessarily be your ideal property fit if it doesn’t have the location or other features you need in a home. To stay on the safe side, make a list of non-negotiable features – and stick to it.
3. Skipping the initial home inspection
Many homebuyers rush off to sign the purchase contract once they stumble upon a piece of real estate that fits their principal housing needs – and by doing so, they shoot themselves in the leg. To avoid losing a small fortune on post-purchase repairs and updates, you should hire an expert to conduct a property audit and see whether your home-to-be suffers from serious structural defects or other shortcomings which you can use to bring down home price. The inspection will also help reveal major red flags and thus save you loads of cash down the road.
4. Not thinking outside the market box
In some cases, the house hunt can stretch for longer than the homebuyer can afford. If you can’t find a piece of property that fits your needs and budget, you shouldn’t lose hope or let it get you down: instead of flying into despair or waiting for your dream home to materialize, look into the available plots of land and find out how much it would cost to build a house from scratch. For homeowners eager to build their own nest, construction companies can custom-design plans for project homes and draw up an umbrella estimate of the expenses required for the project.
5. Making the home purchase in a rush
As tight as your move-out timeline may be, you should never make the final decision in a rush. If you slap your family name on a piece of property before you’ve carried out critical title searches and audits, you may end up with a money pit on your hands. To avoid waste of time and cash, it would be best to make a list of priority features and questions to ask during a preliminary home tour and write down the positives and negatives for each home immediately after the viewing: it will help you get a clearer image of property worth following up on.
6. Sitting on the final decision too long
Although forethought and reflection are essential when deciding which of the shortlisted homes you should call your own, you shouldn’t sit on the decision for too long. If you fail to bid on time, you can easily lose a house that fits your budget and preferences, so run critical title searches and inspections without delay and make key decisions fast. On the real estate market, snoozing often means losing, which is why it’s best to act without needles hesitations and delays: after all, you won’t stumble upon a property bargain every day.
A house hunt is a tricky affair, but it can be much easier if you know which pitfalls to avoid – and if you’re still here, you now do. Remember: a home is a long-term commitment which you won’t be able to duck out of if you change your mind or your housing needs change, so do your best to stay on the safe side of the probably biggest financial transaction in your life. Good luck!