|Common Homebuyer Misconceptions (And The Truth From A Real Estate Agent)
By Leighton Stone
The process of buying a home is not an easy one, full of myths and misconceptions that can leave a buyer feeling frustrated and unsure. Working with an agent can help ease the stress of the uncertainties one may encounter while going through the steps. Here are some truths about common misconceptions that keep homebuyers from diving all the way in.
You don’t have to be pre-approved prior to seeing a house you saw online.
Most agents are willing to meet at a property to show potential buyers its features and benefits. Though during this meeting the agent may be looking to make a customer a client, the agent is able to give you information about the home without commitment. Viewing a home to see what the market is like is common practice, and it can give you an introductory idea into the market to see what may help you meet your goals.
Being pre-approved to simply look is not necessary, and buyers should consider the fact that real estate agents often have strong relationships with multiple lenders, all of whom have different loan programs, rates and benefits to customers. Don’t believe that you should be approved prior to seeing a home as there may be better mortgage options waiting for you through your agent relationship.
You don’t need to know everything before you buy.
Today, many clients believe they should be incredibly well-informed prior to purchasing a home. While being informed does help, there is much misinformation to be found that can sway decision making. Misinformation can lead one to believe that every scenario (many of which do not apply) will take place during their transaction. Instead, focus on having a counseling session with an agent, discussing how the process works, what to look out for and how they can help.
When choosing an agent, ask how many homes they have sold in the past 12 months. Take the time to research the agent and the number of deals they close per year. If the number seems high (higher than 15 per year), then the agent has likely encountered enough situations within the business that prepares them to reduce mistakes made with the next client. Every agent has one crazy story, but the more stories they have, the better they can serve future clients. Fewer mistakes are likely to be made if the agent has gone through it before.
What research will be beneficial is reading up on types of inspections to conduct during the purchasing process. In most cases, a home inspection should suffice, but in other cases, it may benefit to have a survey completed, the foundation evaluated and mold examined. While the agent may opine on types of inspections to have, the purchaser can always test the above options and more. Aside from this, trust your agent to help guide you through the process.
Not every property owner’s association limits what you can do to your home.
It is quite a common belief that property owners associations restrict everything that a person can do to their home when purchasing a property within an association. This is not the case. Each community has different rules and regulations, some more strict than others. For instance, some communities may allow additions to properties with plans that meet a similar build to the neighborhood feel, while others may restrict everything from exterior paint colors to bushes and landscaping. A firm understanding the rules upfront is not always easy to come by, as state laws place property owners association rule review periods during different times in the contract. However, a simple phone call to the association with your future plans is always allowed and can offer clarity prior to making a contract and spending unnecessary funds.
It’s quite common to be nervous, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Many homebuyers think that asking questions is an inconvenience to their agents, lenders or title representatives – but they are there to help. Rather than reading a bunch of articles about rewiring an electrical system and determining it needs to be done (when in fact a single breaker in a panel can be replaced to resolve a perceived problem) ask the professional what the wording meant on the reports received. A simple explanation can easily mitigate concerns compared to a first-timer’s experience in reading the reports – which can cause more harm than needed. Always ask questions. That’s what the professionals get paid to do.
Purchasing a home can actually be fun.
Remember, choose the agent with experience for a smooth process – but, in a business where so many agents work within one territory, choose one who you enjoy. A person who likes their job and does it well will help you enjoy the process, make it entertaining and reduce your stress. Make it an experience you don’t want to forget. The home you love should be one that was fun to purchase.