Five Mistakes St. Louis Home Buyers Make

1.  Snubbing the Real Estate Agent

St. Louis home buyers, without the weight of having a home to sell, can definitely benefit from this current “buyer’s market” and historic low interest mortgage rates.  But woe to the overconfident buyer.  Here are five common mistakes buyers tend to make.

With a wide variety of web sites offering tons of data on listings, some people think, “who needs an agent?”  Finding a home and figuring out comps (the price of comparable homes on the market) is getting easier.  However, managing the nuances of offers, inspections, financing and all the other important steps to buying a home is where many buyers tend to get tripped up. You’re not buying a plasma TV at Best Buy.  This is the biggest purchase you will probably make in your life!

2.  Guesstimating How Much You Can Afford

Many buyers take a do-it-yourself approach to financing.  They use online calculators to estimate how much house they can afford, jump into the home search, then get a kick in the face when lenders refuse to qualify them for that amount.  Lenders are not only reading loan applications closer than ever before, they’re running credit checks multiple times during the loan process.  New Laws from Fannie Mae Could Delay or Deny Closings for St. Louis Home Buyers

Make an appointment with a mortgage broker or banker before you get serious about your search.  We can recommend some sources for you that have performed well for our buyers over the years.  Keep in mind that the costs of buying and owning a home go well beyond the sticker price.  Online calculators can take into account property tax and insurance, but you will have to calculate maintenance costs, moving fees and home owner association dues which will vary according to the home and neighborhood. (Continue for mistakes 3-5)

Five Mistakes St. Louis Home Buyers Make

3.  Making Arbitrary Offers

With so many homes on the market at record low prices and so many sellers desperate to get out from under them, it may be smart to hold out for the right house and the right price.  But … when you find that perfect home, please do not assume that you can make an incredibly lowball offer or make unreasonable demands.  Even in hard-it markets, nice houses in desirable neighborhoods are getting multiple bids.

If the potential home has been on the market for a long time (check with your exclusive buyer agent what’s considered a long time for that neighborhood) you may not have to worry about other buyers standing in line behind you.  Make your offer based on recent sales for comparable homes, market trends and start the bidding on the low, but not insulting, side.  If the house is new on the market; the seller may not yet be ready for your lowball offer.  If other buyers are circling around the block, put your best foot forward but don’t get pulled into a bidding war.

4.  Focusing on the House, Not the Neighborhood

Have you ever heard this old saying? 

“A wise man learns by his mistakes, but a wiser man learns from the mistakes of others.”

Some buyers wish they had researched their new potential home just a little more to really get to know all the perks, quirks, and hassles of living in a particular area.  You can always repaint a room…but there’s no easy fix for super strict homeowner association rules, long commutes to your work, or weird, loud neighbors.  As a first-time home buyer, you may not be aware of all of the things that are not about the house.

Try and spend some time in your future neighborhood on different days and times.  Check out the grocery store, local restaurants, and test drive your potential commute to work.

5.  Letting Charm Cloud Your Judgment

It’s easy to fall for the charms of an older home.  But unless the home has been thoroughly remodeled, or you’re prepared to pay for repairs and upgrades, that old, charming house can quickly lose it charm.  We help our clients negotiate ample time after the building inspection time to get estimates from contractors and back out of the deal if need be.  If you’re looking at newer homes, be careful with “staged” homes as they may be hiding something.
Don’t be Fooled by Staged Homes in the St. Louis Real Estate Market

Exclusive Buyer Agents-Your Guide in the Home Buying Process

There is a lot that can happen in the home buying process.  It’s not predictable like going to the mall to buy a sweater.  If you have questions about any of these home buying mistakes, please contact us.

Finding Homes for You is here for you the buyer.  We do not take listings and never represent the seller.  Our entire focus is on helping you navigate the twists and turns of buying a home.  We hope that you will take advantage of our experience.

Learn more about what an Exclusive Buyers Agent can do for you

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