House hunting is a very exciting adventure but an overwhelming one at the same time.
A lot comes with looking for a house and it’s fully understandable. You want to find a place to call home and to go to and unwind after a long day at work.
Perhaps you are looking for a house to buy or to lease and pay monthly rent for. Whatever it is, your house-hunting process will come along with so many emotions, confusion, and excitement too. Whether you are looking for listings online or on the ground by yourself or with an agent.
Moving from show-house to show-house, meeting with different people/ sellers, seeing different houses that excite you and others don’t. Along the way, you are likely going to lose the gleam of it when you can’t seem to find what you are looking for.
Losing the gleam should not be your biggest worry. But, mistakes that can make you lose a couple of dollars here and there should be the ones to worry you.
Apart from losing some money, these mistakes can make your house-hunting process harder than it should actually.
You are probably going to make some of the mistakes before and others during the hunting process. Therefore, you have to be cautious throughout the process not to make these mistakes.
Not knowing what you want.
Knowing what you want for a house is where it all starts. If you do not know what you really want, what will you be looking for –everything?
Know the type of house you want, generally, and even the nitty-gritty details. Think of size, rooms, baths, location, design, etc. Will you be living by yourself or do you have a family – a spouse, children, sibling, housemate, etc. Think of the duration you want to live in that house.
Knowing what you want will make your search a little less tedious and less confusing. You will know where to spend your search time and energy, what to look out for, and where to look.
Not knowing what you can afford.
Knowing what you want and what you can afford goes hand in hand. How many times do we want something but our wallet says ‘no maaam or no sir’? So many times and this is no different.
You might be wanting a 3 bed, 2 bath house in suburbs but you cannot afford that. Well, you might be thinking, ‘I can get a mortgage or a loan to get the house’. But, can you comfortably afford to pay for it? Why not get a 3 bed, 2 bath house somewhere else you can afford easily without breaking the bank?
If you are not buying the house, will you be able to pay the rent comfortably every month?
Consider your financial health and get what you can afford. That way, you will know where to go looking for what you want.
Not having an agent or having the wrong one.
You are probably thinking, ‘I can do the house hunting myself, why do I need an agent’?
Well, maybe you can do it by yourself but having an agent can make your house-hunting process easier. Clearly, a real estate agent or broker is an expert and they do understand the market better than you do. They know more than you do and you can use one for consultation on what’s in the market and in line with what you want.
They will do the research for you and help you get what you want and what is in your budget.
Importantly, having an agent will put you in the best bargaining position during the negotiation process with the seller.
Make sure you have the right agent, as having the wrong one is worse than not having one. Your agent is not meant to be a salesperson pushing you to get a house so you are done with. They should not pressure you to make a deal just to finish the process.
Don’t have an agent who gives you the opposite of what you want. Agents do their research, give you support, advice, and help you get what you want in line with your budget.
Not window shopping around – no variety.
This is a big one when it comes to getting a house.
Some people don’t go shopping around and they just jump onto the first house they see. Don’t be among these types of buyers.
Go around, visit as many show houses as possible and see a variety of what you want. You will notice the possible differences in the prices of similar houses in different locations and different sellers.
Overlooking important flaws in the house/ failing to inspect.
When you are looking for a house, look out for the good and the bad sides of it.
Inspect the house thoroughly and look out for flaws – those that can be taken care of easily you can overlook. On the other hand, some flaws in the house can cost you a lot later if you overlook or not even notice them.
If your budget does not accommodate a fixer up – repairs and upgrades, don’t get a house that needs such.
Not having a vision.
You might see a house, you can afford it comfortably, but, there are a few things here and there that you don’t like. An ugly color paint in the bedroom, an outdated cabinet system in the kitchen, etc.
Don’t let some physical things you don’t like about the house push you into getting an expensive house you might struggle with financially. If you don’t like them but you can work with them, go for it. Do that in exchange for living in a house you can afford with no struggle.
And, if the big factors to be considered are perfect – size, location, price – why not? Ignore the physical faultiness and get the house.
You can change those imperfections later when are able to afford.
Overlooking the Neighborhood.
When you are house hunting, the location and the neighborhood of a house is very important.
Apart from the fact that the location/ neighborhood influences the price of a house or a real estate property, it will also determine your future in the house.
Don’t put your focus on the house itself or the houses on the several blocks away, think of its surroundings. How is the surrounding area – is it developed or is the nearby land undeveloped?
If it’s undeveloped, what type of development is likely to take place in the next couple of years? A road, a highway, a bridge, new buildings? Are there any ongoing development plans in the area?
If you are buying a house, these factors are very important to consider especially if you ever get the need to resell the house later. Also, think of the home values of the neighborhood. Have they been increasing or decreasing?
These are things your agent can help you find out or do it yourself as you shop around.
A rush to make an offer.
Most people will be in a rush to make an offer when the deal is nice and the market is hot. This is a mistake you do not want to make as you look for a house.
The offer might be a good one and you don’t want to miss out on but the house might not be right for you.
You might feel like you won’t get another good offer like this but that’s not it. There is always another good deal out there and one that will get you the house right for you.
The thing about rushing to make an offer is that you might not be able to put some aspects into consideration. You might not notice the flaws in the house or even find out more about the neighborhood of the house.
Is the neighborhood safe at night or even during the day? Is it too loud during the day because of a busy railway station or at night because of a club?
If you are looking for a rental, you might forget to consider some residence rules that may cost you later. For instance, the no-pet rule, etc.
Something else, is the house worth that price, or are you offering too much for it or too less?
Getting a house is as emotional as it is logical.
Making these mistakes and ignoring your feelings makes your house hunting harder and costly than it should be.
That being said, consider your feelings and emotions as you look for a place to call your next home. How do you feel about the house and what is your sixth sense telling you about the house?
The bottom line is, be realistic and don’t be in a rush. At the same time, be in line with your feelings and your finances.