Avoid These Homebuyer Mistakes and Live Happily Ever After
There is a particular excitement that surrounds buying a home that makes other major life purchases pale in comparison. Expect to be excited and joyful about the prospect. If by chance, you are lucky enough to find a home that feels perfect as soon as you step through the door, it can be magical.
Don't Overlook Important Considerations
Keep in mind that magic can also be an illusion, and reality may be around the corner, waiting to tap you on the shoulder. Don’t let the euphoria of the moment keep you from delving deeper when you are purchasing a home.
Your relationship with your home is not a superficial one, and neither should your hunt for it be either. Here are mistakes you can easily avoid when buying a home. It will be a small investment in your time in balance to how long you may live there.
Failing to Research the Location
It’s not enough to look at the properties surrounding the home you want to buy; you want to dig into the details. Start by doing a practice run on your commute to work and determine if it is doable or so far away that you will be sure to experience regret from making the drive twice a day.
Scope out the neighborhood at different times of the day and week. Be sure to check it out in the evening as well. Is it reasonably quiet or does a potential neighbor host band practice in his garage every Saturday night?
Google Maps is a great tool to get a drone view of the neighborhood. Are parks and green spaces in the area or within walking distance of the home you want to buy? Is there a grocery store conveniently at hand? Is highway access nearby but not so close that you will hear eighteen-wheelers rumbling along in the wee hours?
Not Making Safety a Priority
AreaVibes is my favorite website for obtaining crime data on a city or neighborhood. It is a virtual wealth of information on crime, as well as the cost of living, employment, housing, schools, and more. Every city or neighborhood also receives a ranking and a livability rating. I also suggest checking out the National Sex Offender registry. You should also check with the local police department for recent crime data. Many cities now post information online.
Neglecting to Evaluate the City
Go to the municipal website and find out what services you will receive as a taxpayer, such as parks, green spaces, community activities, adult education courses, libraries, and programs for all your family members. Check the zoning laws and find out if any significant projects are in the works for your neighborhood that will affect your property value negatively.
Ignoring the Schools
A common mistake that buyers without children often make is not caring about the quality of the schools. For families with kids, quality education is at the top of the list of needs. So why should those who will not be using the schools care? Two words. Important words to everyone who owns a home. Resale value. Properties in communities with desirable schools sell for more and sell faster. Therefore, when you the buyer, becomes you the seller, good schools are an excellent selling point.
Not Learning the Rules of a Home Owners Association
After you buy a townhouse or condo is not the time to find out the particulars of the regulations, bylaws, and covenants. Before you buy you should be familiar with how the HOA will affect the quality of your life because there may be rules and restrictions that would be a dealbreaker. When you buy into a shared community, you are buying a lifestyle as well as a roof over your head. HOA’s provide many advantages and amenities, but there are also drawbacks. Often there are restrictions on pet ownership, parking, choice of paint colors, the option of renting your unit, what you can put on your patio, hours you can use the pool, laundry facilities, and fitness center and much more.
Not Considering Resale Value
All of the mistakes I’ve talked about would have a negative impact on the resale value of a home. But beyond those mentioned, the design of your home, the number of bedrooms and baths, condition and age of the roof, heating, plumbing, electric and cooling systems all impact the amount you can sell for at the time of sale. Outdated kitchens and bathrooms can also be deal-breakers for many buyers. Don’t wait to consider all of this when you are ready to sell. When you are thinking about buying a home, be sure you have the time and the money to make necessary improvements.
Buying a Fixer-Up
Buying a home with the intention of renovating it top to bottom can be a rewarding experience both emotionally and financially. You get to pick everything you want while taking advantage of the quickest path to increasing the value of your home and building equity. However, before jumping in feet first, have an estimate of what the renovations will cost and a plan and timeline to complete the transformation. If you are going to be living in the home throughout the remodel, make sure you can live through the chaos without losing your mind. Expect you will run into unforeseen problems, go over budget, and your timeline.
Be aware that this is not an all-inclusive list of buyer mistakes. I have covered the more common ones in previous posts. However, because buyers' remorse is not on anyone’s bucket list, these are definitely worth the consideration of everyone buying a home in today’s market. That’s all I’ve got for now.
As always, thanks for reading. You know where to find me.