2017 Aug 24th

5 Mistakes Buyers Make

1.  Not Knowing What You Can Afford

Before you start going to open houses or browsing through online listings, please speak with a lender.  Or better yet, go to bankrate.com and use their nifty tool.  You don’t want to look at homes that are more than you can comfortably handle and lust after one you can’t have.  At the same time, the benefit of age has shown me that for younger buyers with likely upward salary  trajectories, stretching a bit now may not be a horrible thing.

2.  Not Getting a Prequalification (or Preapproval) from a Local Lender

It’s an extremely competitive market.  The strength of your offer depends not just on the price but on other terms, as well.  One of the most important, who is writing your loan?  Many lenders make promises they can’t keep and lure you in with ultra-low rates.  If they haven’t done lots of business in Hoboken, it’s not likely that they will be able to close.  Listing agents know this.  They also know the regular players.  Get a prequal or, even better, a preapproval from one of them.  You’re not obligated to use them for your mortgage but it will absolutely help you to secure the property of your dreams.

3.  Not Having Your Own Buyer’s Agent

Lots of buyers today think they can do it all themselves.  They look for properties on their phone, go to the open house, and think they will “represent themselves” when it comes to making an offer.  Guess what, folks.  It doesn’t work that way.  Not having an agent just means that the seller’s agent is now supposed to look out for your interests, too (and the seller’s agent loves that because they get paid double!)  Do yourself a favor, find a good, experienced, local agent who is an expert in the market and let them work for you and you alone.

4.  Expecting Perfection

I don’t care how big your budget may be, nothing is ever going to be perfect.  Look, even the White House is considered a “dump” to some people.  Certain things can be fixed (kitchens, paint colors, closets) but others, like size and sometimes floor plans, cannot.  Make a list of what’s most important to you and be prepared to make compromises.

5.  Not Asking About the Association

You’re not just buying a home to live in, in most cases you’re buying a condo which is part of a condominium association.  They control the purse strings and make the decisions that directly impact the value of your investment.  Be sure you know all about their finances and workings because you are buying into all of that, as well!  Is it a building full of renters, owned by absentee investors who bought 20 years ago, don’t care and don’t wish to spend money on anything?  Are they operating on a shoe string?  Do they allow units to be rented out as AirBnBs?  Is the roof and masonry in good repair?  Is there any money in reserves?  You need to ask all these questions and more.

This is just a partial list but addresses some of the bigger issues I see every day.  Working with a good agent can help you avoid many of these pitfalls.  Give us a call to see what we can do for you!


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  1. Mike

    I would say that going to the seller’s agent to represent you as the buyer is an advantage in a seller’s market. Although agents should always be honest and upfront, we know if the opportunity to earn the full commission is there, they will try to steer their buyers (and not some other agent’s buyers) to their seller.

  2. Lori Turoff

    That is not only not true, it’s not ethical. The sellers’ agent is a fiduciary of the seller and has an obligation to act in the sellers’ best interest, not his own.

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