Most people think of home buying as a pitched battle between buyers and sellers, with the person sitting across the table from you being your mortal enemy. Oftentimes, though, the real enemy in a real estate transaction is yourself.
When it comes to buying a house, you need to heed the old maxim, “He (or she) who hesitates is lost.” Buyers can hurt themselves either by hesitating to make an offer, or by not responding to lender deadlines and contract contingencies in a timely manner. Hesitating can open the door to competition and bidding war. On the flip side, sellers who hesitate to accept an offer can lose a buyer by giving them time to view other properties or think twice about their offer.
Low-balling an offer can get you into a lot of trouble. Often, sellers will ignore the offer completely and move on to the next bidder. I’ve seen plenty of buyers waste too much time low-balling, and end up running out of time and overpaying out of desperation.
The home-buying process requires your signature on a lot of documents. Nothing can hurt you more than not reading those documents before signing them. I have seen new condominium owners in shock when they realize there are special assessments that dramatically increase the cost, or clauses in the bylaws preventing you from renting your unit to someone else. On the seller’s end, reading a buyer’s inspection report and closing statement carefully can save you thousands of dollars in hidden requests later on. And don’t be afraid to ask questions!
You can also hurt yourself by not paying attention to your Realtor. A reputable agent will have experience with a host of complicated matters, like list price vs. offer price, counter offers, contingencies clauses, asking for concessions, and dealing with repair credits, to name just a few. The key is to find an agent who has the training, experience and skills to get the job done, and then trusting your agent to do that job.
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