Annoying things to expect while you’re house hunting

    A couple of weeks ago I warned homeowners about the annoying things to expect when their home is on the market. And, because the bar is so very low for admission to the “real estate agent” realm, there are also things that buyers should expect.

    Now, I’m not trying to scare you off the home buying process – on the contrary. Take a look at some of the following annoyances so that, if they happen, you won’t be caught off guard.

    Somebody may be watching you

    If your agent hasn’t warned you, let me do it for him/her: home security cameras are so popular that the chances are excellent that the home you’re viewing is being monitored.

    The legality of listening in on potential buyers’ conversations is up for grabs right now, but assume that every home you look at has a camera hidden, with audio capability, somewhere.

    Also assume that everything you say and do will be heard and viewed by the homeowner.

    Wait until you are safely outside to diss the homeowner’s housekeeping skills or ugly carpet. And never, ever discuss anything about an offer you might place on the home while you’re inside.

    Sellers who decide to stick around

    Unless you’re looking at a for-sale-by-owner home, there’s no reason the homeowner should be in the home when you view it. It’s terribly uncomfortable to be followed around by the homeowner who drops comments that are neither necessary or welcome.

    It’s also intimidating to open closets and cupboards when the homeowner is standing beside you. Of course you’re not being nosy — you want to see how much room is in there. But you feel nosy because the guy who owns the house is watching. How uncomfortable and, yes, annoying.

    It’s the listing agent’s job to let the seller know to skedaddle before showings.

    If you show up and the seller is there you have every right to refuse to view the home. Ask your agent to set up another appointment for when the homeowner won’t be there.

    Dirty houses

    No matter how clear we agents are with our listing clients about cleaning and staging their homes, some just don’t care. It’s annoying to walk into a home that you suspect may be ideal but can’t tell because of the clutter and filth.

    There’s really no “cure” for this annoyance other than to remind yourself that all the junk will be gone and the dirt cleaned up before you move in. Try to ignore it – look beyond the “stuff” to the actual bones of the home.

    Having to make compromises

    If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll most likely need to compromise on something from your wish list. You may not get to live in the neighborhood you really want to live in. You may have to rip out carpets or change wall colors. You may also have to resign yourself to a bit longer commute.

    The best way to avoid the disappointment that comes when faced with having to compromise is to never look at homes that are above your price range. Then, make a list of what you’re willing to do without if the need arises.

    Unrealistic sellers

    To be fair, most homeowners I work with aren’t so much unrealistic as uninformed. It’s why I’m writing a book on the sales process – to ensure my clients are as informed about the process as possible. And, do ask me for your complimentary copy — I’m happy to send one as soon as it’s published.

    You do have a copy of “Move: A Strategic Guide to Buying a Home in Billings” right? The second edition is at the publisher right now so email me if you’d like a free copy.

    Suppose your inspection turns up the need for a new roof.

    Then, imagine the seller refusing to replace or repair the roof. You walk out on the deal and the home goes back on the market. Now the seller has a new disclosure item – he or she will have to tell the next potential buyer about the roof.

    Does the home seller really think he will find a buyer for a home that needs a new roof? Does he really think that the home in need of said roof will appraise for the amount he’s asking and will any buyer’s lender loan money on a home in this condition?

    Because too many agents don’t counsel their listing clients, the answer to these questions may just be “yeah.” And walking away from a home because of an unreasonable seller is probably one of the most annoying things you’ll face.

    As I said to sellers in my article to them, take a deep breath and relax. This house hunting stuff is temporary and, despite the annoyances, you will find a suitable home.

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