Tips for Buyers:
Get a home inspection. It’s important to hire a trusted home inspector to check out the house’s potential issues and problems. Don’t skip a home inspection because you’re afraid of what you might hear—many issues sound more serious than they actually are, and can be fixed easily. And if something deal-breakingly serious turns up, as disappointing as that is, it can save years of heartache and financial outlay. Better to walk away from a clunker.
List your place before you look for another. If you’re truly serious about looking for a home, list your place first. In the current economy, banks want to make sales as uncomplicated as possible—and contingency sales, which can be very complicated, are often rejected.
Talk before you act. Don’t ever start a home search without a firm budget not only in mind, but literally written down. Mutually agree with yourself—or with your partner, if you’re buying with someone else—long before you start seriously searching. Going out of that zone because of a place you just “gotta have,” or are emotional about, could put you in dire financial straits later. You don’t want to buy a house that isn’t affordable for you, and then be worried about paying for dinner and a movie on Saturday night.
Don’t be a design snob. If someone’s enormous bathroom has wallpaper border containing frolicking kittens and pastel flowers, or a wall that’s a nuclear shade of green, we understand this can send you into style shock. But stand fast and ignore bad décor. Instead, try to envision the space raw. Besides, you can always redecorate once the home is yours.
Don’t make a silly offer. There’s nothing wrong with making an offer below asking price—it’s no secret that today, many homes are selling for under the asking price. But going 40% below the asking price may anger the seller. Some sellers, especially more emotional ones, won’t even bother counter offering an outrageously low offer. Feel free to make a deal—just don’t make an offer so low that you’ll be kicked off the table.