Friday, November 13, 2009

7 Deadly Home Buying Mistakes

It’s official; President Obama has extended the home buyer tax credit through April 30, 2010. This legislation translates into an $8,000 tax credit for first time home buyers and $6,500 for subsequent home buyers. It also means an increase in activity on real estate transactions.

Because of the deadline, everyone should anticipate that the market will be a bit more crowded than it has been of late. The more crowded the market gets, the easier it becomes for home buyers to commit one of the 7 deadly home buying mistakes.

Demand Advocate Accountability: Every home purchase involves several key players. These participants include the realtor, the home inspector, the pest inspection, the appraiser, and the lender. Because most of us don’t buy a home every year, it’s easy to get lost in industry specific speech shuffle. Words and terms that the average consumer doesn’t understand can easily lead the buyers to unnecessary confusion. Here’s the bottom line. Everyone involved in your home transaction works for you. They are providing a service you need to purchase a home. They are spending your money. That makes you the boss. If something isn’t clear, call a time-out and demand a clear definition. In short, question without fear.

Don’t be a house hog: This is a very simply mistake that many home buyers make; buying more house than they need or buying a home that they are barely able to afford. Life has a funny way of handing surprises to us. If you buy a home you are barely able to afford, you are setting yourself up for trouble the next time life surprises you with an unexpected change.

Flatten Financing Fees: When signing the paperwork for a new mortgage, always remember that you are actually purchasing financing. There will always be some fees associated with all financing; and this is not the concern. It is the excessive charges that cause home buyers to pay too much to get into a home. When it comes to financing, be smart and ask questions about the fees you are being charged. It’s your money, make it work for you.

Credit Roulette: Once you’ve been approved for financing, don’t do anything that could negatively impact your credit report and scores. One home buyer I know didn’t think that quitting his job three days prior to closing would impact his ability to buy a home. He was in for a surprise when the underwriter called his workplace to verify employment the day before closing. He lost his financing and the house. Another home buyer decided that their new home required a house full of new furniture. So right after being approved for financing; they opened a large account at a local furniture store and maxed it out. Their credit scores took a dive and when the underwriter pulled their credit just before signing off on their loan, she discovered that their new scores fell below the minimum approvable scores for home financing. They too lost their financing and couldn’t buy the house.

Know the Neighborhood: Simply because you like a house and the neighborhood, remember that the wise home buyer takes the time to get to know the area just a bit better. Drive through the sub-division at various times of the day. What is traffic like entering and exiting the neighborhood? Are there a lot of cars parked on the street at night? Stop and ask some of your potential new neighbors the things they like and dislike about living in the sub-division. If the neighborhood has a pool, give it a quick look. And don’t forget to read the neighborhood association by-laws. Make sure you can live with these guidelines.

Ready, Set, Think: You’re ready to buy a home. You have the down payment and closing costs and you have your financing arranged. Before signing the contract take a step back and think. Does this home do more than meet our present needs? Will it meet our needs for the foreseeable future? What are the projected values of this home for the next 5, 10 and 15 year? If we have to stay her longer than we anticipate, will we be happy here? Buying a home involves emotions, but don’t let the emotions rule the decision.

Paralysis of Analysis: On the other side of the spectrum is the tendency of some home buyers to delay making a decision because they are still thinking about it. Great home buys have been lost by home buyers who sit on the fence too long after gathering all the necessary data. Every real estate transaction has a point when it’s yes or no. When it’s time to paint, get out your brush, or get off the ladder.