Top 3 Mistakes Home Buyers Make

If every agent would post the Top 3 Mistakes they actually see home buyers make in the real world, we would have an excellent list for people to use. 

Yesterday I gave my $.02 on the Top Ten List of mistakes “first time buyers” make that’s been floating around the internet. But I can’t honestly say I saw the real mistakes people make in that list. I also don’t like the idea that “first time buyers” make more mistakes than 2nd time buyers.  Not necessarily so. In fact 1st time buyers are more likely to spend lots of time making sure they aren’t making mistakes.  4th time buyers may not be paying enough attention to changes that took place since they bought their last home.  So being careful not to make “mistakes” is not only for “first time” buyers.

Here’s my view of The Top 3 mistakes I see buyers (almost) make:

1) Starting out with the wrong attitude.

The Appropriate Attitude

It’s a big decision.  Starting out with the right attitude for “home shopping” is very important.  Knowing your own strengths and weaknesses will help you select an agent who complements you best.  Sometimes finding an agent you disagree with more often than not, will give you the right balance.

Ms. Happy Face often likes everything and never likes to say anything bad about anyone or anything.  If you can’t change to Ms. Objective and Discerning, find an agent who looks for all the bad stuff for you. Biggest mistake Ms. Happy Face can make is having an agent who is always happy, happy with her.  We all like our “YAY-Days”, but best to save YAY Day for “loan docs are at escrow” day, and not every house you go to see.

Mr. Sad Face is often too sure that the house he buys isn’t going to make him happy. The fact that nothing is perfect is too embedded in his psyche.  Biggest mistake Mr. Sad Face makes is he often ends up sucking up defects as “oh well, they all have defects” and doesn’t make the right list of priorities as to acceptable vs. unacceptable defects.  Mr. Sad Face is best served by an agent who will list all the pros and cons of the home he selects, both before and after home inspection, and separates “normal” defects from “abnormal” defects.  Otherwise they tend to get all lumped together and overlooked in their entirety.

Mr. Angry hates the process. He hates that he has to use an agent.  He hates agents. He hates that the process isn’t more simple so that he can proceed without an agent.  He hates it if the agent is stupid.  He hates it if the agent doesn’t know more than he does.  He hates it if the agent thinks they do know more than he does.  He hates having to talk to so many different people during escrow.  Mr. Angry isn’t happy until it’s all over and behind him and he can sit down and watch his TIVO in his new home. Mr. Angry would be best served by delegating everything except choosing the house to someone he trusts.  Finding someone he trusts is the hard part 🙂

Mr. and Ms. Objective and Discerning are of course the model for Right Attitude.  Their glass is not half full or half empty.  They empty their glass before each home, and look at each home’s particular strengths and weaknesses each time anew.  They narrow their choices down to the top two or three, and then they compare those one to another. In the hot market, these nice people were pressured by the “quick sales” and not having enough time to apply their best judgment.  But in this market, Mr. and Ms. Objective and Discerning will thrive and be successful and happy with their choices.

The alternative to BEING Mr. and/or Ms. Objective and Discerning, is to hire Mr. or Ms. Agent who is Objective and Discerning.

2) Spending too much time on WHAT and not enough time on WHERE.

Everyone knows someone who moved fairly quickly after they bought their home.  Now go ask them why they were unhappy.  Chances are they were unhappy with WHERE vs. WHAT.  Before going to Open Houses or talking with a lender or an agent, spend lots and lots of time finding the “Where of Happiness” for you.  Buying where you are currently renting and happy, is good.  Renting at another where before you buy there, is good.  Renting in your percieved best where before you buy there, is the best advice I can give on this one.

3) Not being selfish enough.

This problem is more about couples that are buying than single people. The Red Flag that you may be in this category is if you say to the agent “We always agree on everything”.  No one always agrees on everything.  BE SELFISH! Don’t factor in what you think your spouse may or may not like, when you are evaluating homes.  Make your own separate list of pros and cons, and make sure they are All About YOU.

If you aren’t selfish enough, one day you may wake up to find that neither one of you really liked the house in  the first place 🙂