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Common Mistakes to Avoid

We, in the industry, see consumers making some of the same mistakes over and over again. As you are looking to make either your first or next home purchase, please take a moment and check out this list of common mistakes to avoid that will save you time, money, hassles and more!

1. Looking at homes without first getting loan approval. In today's marketplace, touring homes you think you would like to buy without knowing your buying power is a waste of everyone's time. It is discouraging for any buyer to fall in love with a house and write up a contract only to find out he or she can't afford the dream home. Getting loan pre-approval, however, is like having a credit card in your pocket for the purchase price. It eliminates surprises and saves valuable time!

2. Buying the wrong type of home. Many times, we've seen buyers purchase a home that has one characteristic they like, but no others. It might have a great kitchen, but overall it's too small (or too large). The price is great, but the house is too far from work. It's a perfect fixer-upper, but the buyers aren't handy with tools. Be sure to review every aspect of the home and compare it, not only with your "wants" list, but also your "lifestyle" list.

3. Purchasing without a home inspection. In a steamed-up market, some buyers will consider foregoing a home-inspection contingency so their contract looks better than their competitors'. Although this may be necessary in a hot market, it can come back to bite the buyer and even the seller! Some sellers have wound up in court after accepting a contract without a home inspection. An "after-sale" inspection of a home revealed serious defects, prompting the buyers to take legal action for relief. If you're the buyer, you can go to court in such cases, but there's no guarantee you'll ever be compensated for the needed repairs or your court costs.

4. Survey surprises. We're seeing more cash purchases of homes than ever before, which removes one of the common safeguards required by mortgage lenders-the property survey. Lenders require surveys to ensure there are no property-line problems. Many times a survey can show defects, such as a neighbor's fence placed over the line or violations of zoning regulations. If these are discovered, the seller should be responsible for correcting them, not the buyer.

5. Buying too much home. Moving into a larger home usually seems like a good strategy for a growing family. But many people fail to realize that the new larger mortgage comes with new and larger home maintenance and repair costs. Energy costs are likely to be higher, along with yard upkeep expenses and cleaning costs. Think too about how much it will cost you to furnish all the new space you have.

6. Not looking at different loan options. Just as buyers look around at different homes on the market, they should also check out all the financing options available to them. Depending on your particular situation, the traditional 30-year, fixed interest rate loan may not be the best option for your home purchase. All loans are not created equal!

7. Failing to use a buyer's agent. It used to be that all real estate agents worked for sellers. In today's market, the buyer can hire an agent, too. This gives buyers someone in their corner, looking out after the their best interests. Seller's and builder's agents, while required to treat buyers fairly and honestly, are compelled to negotiate the best deal for their clients-the seller and the builder. Purchasing a home without a buyer's agent is like going to court without a lawyer.

8. Not reading the fine print. Purchasing a home is the largest investment most of us ever make. That's why understanding what you're signing up for is imperative! If you don't understand something about the sale contract, don't hesitate to ask for an explanation from your buyer's agent. The same advice applies to your mortgage loan. We're here to answer any questions you may have and to help you make a mistake-free home purchase.