You can be sure even in the face of uncertainty. Pundits can’t agree on the state of the housing market and where prices are headed, but you can protect yourself from often overlooked real estate problems.
Here are 7 tips to avoid buyer’s remorse:
- Get Professional Advice – Search for the most knowledgeable REALTOR with experience in the location and type of real estate you want to buy. Use this professional to learn about local markets and sales patterns for the past few years.
- Real Estate is Local – What happens to real estate prices in your neighborhood may be very different from what economists are generalizing about. What experts say about real estate in New York or Los Angeles is not equally true for all properties and may not be reflected in the selling price of the one you want to buy.
- Invest, Don’t Win – Multiple offers and bidding wars are “no-win” situations for buyers. The “winning” buyers have not won, because they are not investing in real estate, they’re spending on emotion.
- Beyond Interest Rates – Before you walk into a house, talk to a banker about how much money you can borrow and what that will cost you. Not only do you need to know what you are pre-approved for, but you also want to know what that mortgage will cost you each month and year in interest. Living “house poor” is not easy, but getting into this situation is.
- My Must Haves – Know why you must have your “must haves”. If granite counters and stainless steel appliances are in fashion, that does not make them “must haves”, just current cosmetic fads. “Must haves” should be features and benefits of the property that withstand fashion. Location is still the prime “must have” as it cannot be changed. How do you intend to use the property and for how long? That knowledge dictates what must be in place when you buy, and what you can afford to do later.
- Once is Not Enough – Arrange for a second or third visit so you can see how accurate your first impression was. Bring a contractor or knowledgeable friend so you can look beyond staging to see the true pros and cons. Measure to see if your furniture will fit and estimate replacement costs for flooring or drapes.
- Hire an Inspector – Too often buyers want to save the cost of a professional inspection. Buyers pay for this after they move in and unreported problems pop up. Bring your contractor if you plan renovations. Search out a reputable, knowledgeable inspector to discover problems before they get expensive.