House Hunting Mistakes – Part II
Are you ready to pick up where we left off from our last post? After looking at a bunch of houses, you’ve found one that makes your heart soar. It has everything you need and almost everything you want, and best of all, it’s within your budget. So, you’re set, right? Nothing can go wrong at this point…it’s going to be a match made in heaven!
Well, not always. There’s still room to make some mistakes that can upend your plans and send you back to pounding the pavement. Let Ernest Homes take you through the homestretch with these house hunting tips!
Don’t Wait to See a House with Promise
If an available home checks your boxes, see it as soon as possible. You have no idea how many potential buyers have the same needs as you do, or how motivated they are. That said, you may have planned to plow through your DVR, do laundry or catch up on housework this Sunday, but you need to table these types of tasks to respond to a listing that meets your criteria. Just a single day can make a huge difference in your home search. Here’s an example. The agent for the seller received a call from a couple who fell in love with a house on the Internet. They asked to tour it, even though a contract was in place. The agent knew the current contract was unlikely to result in a sale, and scheduled the tour. During the tour, the couple told the agent to let them know the minute the house might be available, because they were definitely interested. The agent called the couple only a few hours later, when the previous contract collapsed. The couple is now living comfortably in the home they knew was perfect for them.
Don’t Rush Through Your Tour
If a house “speaks to you” as you walk through it, you’ll know it. This is the time to slow down, ask questions and really take a good look at what you’ll be getting. Open closets and pantries, look behind shower curtains, peek into cabinets and imagine how you would use the space. Turn on faucets, flip light switches, and check where natural lighting enters the home. Get as much information as you can about the appliances, insulation, HVAC system and other items that will come with the house. Make sure you ask about taxes, school districts, HOA contributions and how soon it may take to complete the sale. If you ask that last question, it’s sending a clear signal to all parties that you’re a serious buyer.
Don’t Be Taken in by the Dazzle
Many homes on the market don’t actually have occupants, although they don’t look that way. It’s not uncommon for sellers to hire staging companies to furnish the house and add welcoming décor. It’s always easier to sell a house that looks like the owners are due back from vacation any day, because it can be hard for potential buyers to envision a bare house as a furnished home. Now it looks like something from a magazine, but how will it look when it’s empty? Be sure it’s the bones of the house you love, not the furnishings.
Don’t Stall on Making an Offer
You may know the instant you take a tour that you want to make an offer. If so, don’t wait. Throw your hat in the ring to make sure you have a chance at the house. You can withdraw the offer later if you change your mind. Hundreds of potential buyers lose a house every day because they waited too long to act. However, you also need to make sure you aren’t rushing into a situation that isn’t right for you because you’re getting desperate. If you haven’t seen anything else you’ve liked or have been outbid several times for other properties, you may have an itchy trigger finger and are acting out of panic. It can be a delicate balancing act to make an offer at the right time, but you need to take stock of your situation in real time and determine if you need to think a bit more or if this is truly the time to act.
Don’t Offer Too Much
There’s a certain art to making an offer, and you don’t want to have yours rejected. Make a reasonable offer, up to the amount the home is worth on appraisal. Be aware of the supply and demand balance of homes in the area. If there are more buyers than sellers and the market is hot, it won’t be unusual for bidding wars to pop up when a property is available. If you start off too high, you could price yourself out of contention immediately if someone else tenders a higher offer. If the house will sell at a higher price than the appraisal value, your lender will only approve you for the appraised value of the house. Any difference will need to be made up in cash. If you in turn sell the house when market conditions are equal to or worse than they were when you bought your home, you could be upside down on the mortgage and unable to sell. Your agent’s knowledge is invaluable during this period of time.
Are you ready to start your home search – in ERNEST? If so, call Ernest Homes at 912-660-9673 for tours of available homes or to discuss new construction with our dedicated, knowledgeable team!