You know that warning you get before you have surgery: “Don’t eat anything the night before?”
Anyone who has had surgery gets that warning. Have you noticed how they don’t go on to explain WHY you shouldn’t eat? Sure, they’ll tell you if you ask, but most just blurt out the warning and expect you to follow it.
“You should refrain from eating at least eight hours before your scheduled procedure in order to reduce side effects related to an aspiration. An aspiration is when stomach contents are expelled into the lungs and can cause significant damage,”
according to the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
Aspirations kill patients.
Assumptions, on the other hand, kill real estate deals. Far too many real estate agents blurt out instructions to their clients, never going into the “why” of them. So, their homebuying clients are left to assume.
Let’s get some of the most common assumptions out of the way – heed these warnings and you’ll avoid some of the most common problems we see in real estate transactions.
1. Looking at homes isn’t the first step
More than 70 percent of first-time homebuyers look at homes for sale before doing anything else. Amazing, isn’t it? They have no idea if they’ll even qualify for a loan, let alone how much they can spend on a home, yet they surf the various online real estate portals, looking at homes.
Step one in the home shopping process is to ensure that you can even get the money to buy a home and how much you can borrow. Only with this knowledge can you intelligently shop for a home.
And, avoid disappointments.
Too many homebuyers look at homes way out of their price range. When they finally get real and get preapproved for a mortgage and start looking at what they can realistically purchase, it’s a letdown. They tend to reject home after home because they don’t match the fantasy of their initial search.
2. Don’t wait for someone to explain the mortgage process
You’ll wait till “it” freezes over. It’s bad enough that lenders don’t bother to take the time to walk the first-time buyer through the process but many real estate agents don’t either.
Learn the difference between the down payment and the earnest money deposit. Explore the definition of closing costs and get an estimate of how much you’ll need at closing.
Learn what happens to your file from the time you submit an application to the time the loan closes.
Understand that you shouldn’t move your money from one account to another, switch jobs or make purchases on credit while you’re in escrow. The lender will perform a “soft” pull of your credit just before closing and changes in your financial picture can delay or even halt closing.
3. A wish list helps avoid impulse buying
When you know exactly what you want and don’t want in a home, you can avoid making an emotional decision on a home. Staging works – it appeals to the homebuyers’ emotions. If you remain focused on your list and filter out the distractions, you’ll choose a home based on its “bones,” and not on the cosmetics (good OR bad).
So, dare to dream – make the list and then whittle it down to the absolute essentials. Refuse any home that doesn’t offer these.
Feel free to ask questions — we love to talk about real estate!