10 Mistakes Buyers Make

1. Limiting your Search to Open Houses, Ads or the Internet
 Many homes listed in magazines or on the internet have already been sold. Your best course of action is to contact a Realtor. They have up-to-date information this is unavailable to the general public and are the best resource to help you find the home you want. (Only about 25% of all homes are advertised in magazines and newspapers)

2. Choosing a Real Estate Agent who is not Fully Committed to the Profession
Buying a home is your largest lifetime investment. Making a connection with the right Realtor is crucial. Choose a full-time real estate professional who knows the current market, and who is dedicated to serving your needs, before, during and after the sale.  (Would you choose a “part-time” surgeon?)  
 
3. Not Getting Your Mortgage Pre-approved
Getting a pre-approval is fast, easy and free!  When you have a pre-approved mortgage, you can shop with a greater sense of freedom and security.  (Some sellers won’t take your offer without pre-approval!)
 
4. Not Following Through on Due Diligence
Buyers should make a list of any concerns they have relating to issues such as; schools, power lines, neighbors, environmental conditions etc. Ask the important questions before you make an offer on a home.
 
5. The Offer Price
What price should you offer on a home? Is your price too high, or are you getting a good deal? If you fail to research the real estate market, you won't know what comparable homes are selling for -- which is like bidding blind. Without knowledge of market value you could easily bid too much, or miss out on an excellent value by failing to make a competitive offer.

6. The Wrong House
What are you looking for in a home? It's a simple enough question, but the answer can be quite complex. Sometimes buyers get swept up in the emotion and excitement of the buying process, only to find themselves owners of a home that is either too big or too small. Maybe they’re stuck with a longer-than-desired commute to work, or more fix-ups than they're really prepared to tackle. Take time at the beginning of your search to clearly define what your wants and needs are now, and how they may change in the future. Make a list of these requirements and use it as a yard stick to measure each home you see.

7. Skipping the Home Inspection
Don’t expect perfection -- every home has at least a few physical details that could use some attention, some of which the owner may not willingly disclose. Keep in mind that both you and the seller are out to maximize your investment, so it is essential to know what you're getting. Ensure that you conduct a thorough inspection of the home. Hire an independent inspector to objectively view the home inside and out. Make the final contract contingent upon your approval of the inspector’s report. The inspector will give you a report of any items that need to be fixed with an approximate cost. 

8. Skipping the Final Walk Through
If a seller fails to comply to the letter of the contract by neglecting some repair issues or changing the spirit of the agreement in some way, this could delay the final closing. Prepare a list of agreed issues, then walk through the home with your agent before closing, and check them off one by one.

9. Rushing the Closing Paperwork
Take your time during this critical part of the process and review all paperwork. Make sure the documents reflect your understanding of the transaction and check that nothing has been added or overlooked. Is the interest rate right on your mortgage? Is everything covered with respect to fixtures and chattels?  If you rush this process on the day of closing, you may run into last minute problems that can't be fixed without compromising the terms of the deal, the financing, or even the sale itself.
 
10. Not Knowing Total Cost Involved
 
Early in the buying process, ask your Realtor or lender for an estimate of closing costs. Moving and attorney fees should be considered. Pre-pay responsibilities such as taxes and insurance must also be taken into account. Remember to examine your statement of adjustments prior to closing.