Homeownership is an amazing thing. There are few things more gratifying than waking up in the morning with the ability to act on the urge to paint a room or knock out a wall to open up the kitchen, without having to ask permission. Then of course there are all of the financial benefits. But mostly it just makes you feel somehow….more…than you are without it.
That said, there are some things to watch out for when making your purchase if you want to know that sweet feeling. Here’s a list of things that frequently get in the way of having a good purchasing experience:
1. If you have someone who you’re going to want some level of approval from before moving ahead with a sale DO NOT bring that person in for the rubber stamp of approval UNLESS they’ve seen all of the other homes you have looked at. They love you. They want to protect you. But the home they see for you in their head isn’t based on reality. It’s a mental fabrication and as such, not subject to the laws of supply and demand. You might have looked at 50 homes before selecting good ole’ number 51. You’ll feel like a million bucks and be absolutely giddy with anticipation of their delight only to find out that they “poo” all over your choice. WHY? Because they don’t know what the other options are. It could be the deal of the century, but because they’re reacting to your choice based on a comparison with something in their head, it’s a ‘no win’ situation. Parents are the worst culprit of this. So..moral of the story? If they want to look at “ANY” of the choices….they need to look at “ALL” of the choices or they don’t get a say. Okay?
2. STAY OUT OF THE PHONE BOOK! (Or whatever passes for your go-to directory of services when you read this. )
So this one needs some explaining. On occasion we run into a situation where someone looking to purchase a home shows up with a full team of vendors they want to use. For example, they’ve already selected a lender, an attorney, a home inspector, etc. More often than not the purchase associated with that individual turns into a hot mess. Why? Well….believe it or not, it isn’t necessarily that the vendors aren’t good. (Although that is frequently the case because there is a very low barrier to entry in most of the trades associated with real estate which makes for large numbers of relatively inexperienced people) The real issue is that they typically haven’t worked together before, so you’re taking a very complicated (I mean REALLY very complicated) situation and putting it into the hands of a team assembled ad hoc for reasons other than to create a good experience. Vendors have to collaborate at a very high level and if they are working together for the first time on YOUR sale, you’ve unwittingly made yourself the guinea pig. If you’ve ever seen an all-star sports team totally tank in a game you get the picture. Do yourself a favor. Work with the best agent you can find, and take the team they suggest. They’ll usually have a few options to pick from in each category of vendor. You’re unlikely to find anyone “good” on your own that’s going to be substantially less expensive than the group of time tested vendors the agent has assembled, and if you do, it’s going to be at the expense of your sanity.
3. Avoid “online advice”. WHAT? Google knows best, doesn’t it? Well…I’d probably be the first one to agree with you EXCEPT…that there is so much darned gray area when it comes to real estate, that you might take something you find on the Internet as gospel (and it might be totally reliable for some people, in some situations) but it will be poor advice based on the nuances of your own situation. Before you make any plans or any major decisions, consult an expert. Aaannd….by “consult” I mean actually “consult” or “talk to”. Reading a column or asking a question on a forum doesn’t count. Opinions are a dime a dozen. Make sure you are talking to someone who has a great reputation, a ton of sales to their credit (over 100 at min) and has taken the time to fully understand your situation. The devil is in the details…oh….and the details change by the day, location, and combination of circumstances. Without years of experience or a knowledgeable guide, the odds of you making the proper distinctions to have even a moderately good experience are just too low to risk.
So that’s it. Or at least for this episode. Of course there are hundreds of other things that we could tell you to look out for, but these three tend to bit people frequently, and HARD. Until next time…happy house hunting!