Purchasing a home can be an exhilarating yet frightening experience. Whether it is the first home or fifth, buyers can quickly become overwhelmed by the process and lose sight of numerous critical details leading up to the closing. Even with the guidance of a realtor and legal professional, several mistakes can derail a real estate transaction.
Here are five mistakes that could lead to more trouble in the future:
- Falling in love with the home’s staging: Too often, buyers lose sight of the fact that many homes are professionally staged and photographed to take advantage of opportune spacing and exceptional lighting. The buyer must stay focused on how the property might look with their own furnishings rather than those chosen by the seller. In many instances, a staged home represents the ideal living conditions, conditions which a normal day-to-day life has no hope of replicating.
- Failing to verify the home’s floor plan: In many instances, the floor plan and square footage are pulled directly from the approved blueprints. Unfortunately, there might have been additional work done during construction. Thickening a wall to create a pocket door, for example, or extending a closet might not show up on the original blueprint, but these changes could significantly alter a room’s dimensions. It is wise to visit each property with your own tape measure.
- Not investigating the comparables: Most realtors will automatically provide comparable home sales (comps) to buyers while deciding if the property is priced well. In a strong market, it might be wise to do this numerous times to account for fluctuating inventory levels.
- Failing to explore the neighbourhood: While many home buyers rely on information provided by their realtor, the internet has become a deep repository of data. Research including crime statistics, neighbourhood maturity, water table data and distance to public transit can all be found easily.
- Not working with a lawyer at closing: Many people approach the closing from a position of confidence. It is wise to have legal representation who can examine all documents to ensure no hasty changes have been made and all agreed-upon repairs have been satisfied.
A real estate transaction likely represents the largest financial move an individual will ever make. It is wise to take steps to avoid problems and identify issues before they overtake the entire process. Do not hesitate to seek legal guidance.