9 Buyer Traps and How to Avoid Them
"A systemized approach to the home buying process
can help you steer clear of these common traps, allowing you to not only cut
costs, but also secure the home that?s best for you."
No matter which way you look at it, buying a home is a major investment.
for many homebuyers, it can be an even more expensive process than it needs to
be since they fall prey to at least a few of the many common and costly
mistakes which trap them into either:
- paying too much for the home they want, or
- losing their dream home to another buyer or,
- (worse) buying the wrong home for their needs.
A systemized approach to the home buying process can help you steer clear of
these common traps, allowing you to not only cut costs, but also secure the home
that?s best for you.
9 Buyer Traps
This important report discusses the 9 most common and costly homebuyer traps, how to identify them, and what you can do to avoid them:
1. Bidding Blind
What price should you offer when you bid on a home? Is the seller?s asking
price too high, or does it represent a great deal. If you fail to research the
market in order to understand what comparable homes are selling for, making your
offer would be like bidding blind. Without this knowledge of market value, you
could easily bid too much, or fail to make a competitive offer at all on an
2. Buying the Wrong Home
What are you looking for in a home? A simple enough question, but the answer
can be quite complex. More often than not, buyers have been swept up in the emotion and
excitement of the buying process only to find themselves the owner of a home
that is either too big or too small. Maybe they?re stuck with a longer than
desired commute to work, or a dozen more fix-ups than they really want to deal
with now that the excitement has died down. Take the time upfront to clearly
define your wants and needs. Put it in writing and then use it as a yard stick
with which to measure every home you look at.
3. Unclear Title
Make sure very early on in the negotiation that you will own your new home
free and clear by having a title search completed. The last thing you want to
discover when you?re in the back stretch of a transaction is that there are
encumbrances on the property such as tax liens, undisclosed owners, easements,
leases or the like.
4. Inaccurate Survey
As part of your offer to purchase, make sure you request an updated property
survey which clearly marks your boundaries. If the survey is not current, you
may find that there are structural changes that are not shown (e.g. additions to
the house, a new swimming pool, a neighbor?s new fence which is extending a
boundary line, etc.). Be very clear on these issues.
5. Undisclosed Fix-ups
Don?t expect every seller to own up to every physical detail that will need
to be attended to. Both you and the seller are out to maximize your investment.
Ensure that you conduct a thorough inspection of the home early in the process.
Consider hiring an independent inspector to objectively view the home inside
and out, and make the final contract contingent upon this inspector?s report.
This inspector should be able to give you a report of any item that needs to be
fixed with associated, approximate cost.
6. Not Getting Mortgage Pre-approval
Pre-approval is fast, easy and free. When you have a pre-approved mortgage,
you can shop for your home with a greater sense of freedom and security, knowing
that the money will be there when you find the home of your dreams.
7. Contract Misses
If a seller fails to comply to the letter of the contract by neglecting to
attend to some repair issues, or changing the spirit of the agreement in some
way, this could delay the final closing and settlement. Agree ahead of time on a
dollar amount for an escrow fund to cover items that the seller fails to follow
through on. Prepare a list of agreed issues, walk through them, and check them
off one by one.
8. Hidden Costs
Make sure you identify and uncover all costs - large and small - far enough
ahead of time. When a transaction closes, you will sometimes find fees for this
or that sneaking through after the ?sub?-total fees such as loan
disbursement charges, underwriting fees etc. Understand these in advance by
having your lender project total charges for you in writing.
9. Rushing the Closing
Take your time during this critical part of the process, and insist on seeing
all paperwork the day before you sign. Make sure this documentation perfectly
reflects your understanding of the transaction, and that nothing has been added
or subtracted. Is the interest rate right? Is everything covered? If you rush
this process on the day of closing, you may run into a last minute snag that you
can?t fix without compromising the terms of the deal, the financing, or even the sale itself.