8 Common House Buying Mistakes [and How to Avoid Them]
Since the average Brit moves around 8 times during their life, it’s not a process we enjoy. Buying a home is often a stressful and painful experience. So, it’s easy to fall victim to a number of mistakes.
While you can avoid most of these common house buying mistakes, it’s easy to blinded by your emotions. So whether you’re wondering what mistakes first-time home buyers’ make, or haven’t moved for a while and want to read up on the most common house buying mistakes, here are our top 8 tips.
Mistake 1: Falling in love outside your price range
We’ve all been there. It usually starts online by adjusting the price slider up just a little bit (and a bit more), just to have a look what’s out there! Next, we manage to convince the agent to show us the property. And even he’s worked out you’re in love!
Over the next few days and weeks, you start dreaming about how great your life would be if you lived in that property. You even bookmark the property and keep coming back to it.
However, there’s the small issue of money. It’s simply unaffordable for you to purchase the home. While we, of course, understand this and offer our sympathies, it’s an easy house buying mistake to avoid.
Instead of focusing on what you can’t afford, focus on potential. Can you buy a house within your pricing range which has potential? Are there items on your list that you don’t really need? Could you use this move as a stepping stone toward buying your ultimate property?
By re-framing the problem, you can focus on finding the best solution and not on feeling disappointed because you feel that you are settling for less than you deserve. Remember, we’re on the housing ladder, it just might take another two steps to reach our goal.
Mistake 2: Assuming that’s the best there is
Unless you are looking at custom homes, it’s likely that for any home that ticks your boxes, there are quite a few nearly identical ones close by.
Chances are one of these could be about to hit the market. You could also get lucky and uncover a similar property has gone unsold in the last few years. In this situation, you’ve hit the jackpot! As you’ll be able to help the current sell without any competition, meaning you’ll get a fair deal.
So how do we find hidden unsold gems?
The good news is that Zoopla saves tons of information on all the properties that are added to its portal. And so, in most cases, you can easily look up when properties hit the market and if they sold or not. Simply type the streets that you’re interested in and look for purple “H” to the right of the photo.
Just remember you can avoid this common home buying mistake with hustle. So keep your eyes open and your ear to the ground. With local agents, keep talking to them about the streets and features you’re looking for. And most of all, keep driving around the area to spot signs of moving before the market knows!
Mistake 3: Desperate to Move
When you’ve been looking for a while but you’re not seeing anything you like, it’s easy to get desperate and purchase anything. This mistake is the biggest among first-time buyers.
Waiting, therefore, is the name of the game! It’s a necessary skill you need to master, and quickly.
It’s also worth considering if you’re desperate to move then you might overlook major issues, which could cost a small fortune to put right. Or you could even be paying more than the property is worth because the agent senses you’re looking to move quickly.
As the housing market is currently flat, you’re unlikely to see prices rise and so you’ll struggle to cover the costs of moving.
Don’t give in to desperation. Instead, do your homework and learn to wait. Then when the right property shows up, you’ll be ready to pounce!
Mistake 4: Missing important flaws
You might be tempted to ignore minor flaws or major problems with the house. However, costs can quickly escalate and your dream home becomes a nightmare.
It’s therefore so important to get a full RICS survey as this will alert you to any problems, along with the fair value of the property. Should the RICS survey expose any flaws, then it’s worth considering whether to go ahead with the purchase or to drop out and keep looking. If you decide to continue, before buying it’s worth getting a number of quotes for each job and trying to re-negotiate the price based on this information.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that new properties are constantly coming on the market and one of these could fit your requirements better. So waiting might help you avoid making this common house buying mistake.
Mistake 5: Overestimating your skills
Let’s face it, from time to time, we all underestimate the work involved with a small DIY project. And so unless your experienced in DIY or have renovated a property before, then it will always be a good rule to avoid homes in need of serious work.
Honestly evaluate your abilities, your budget and how soon you need to move before purchasing a property that isn’t ready.
It’s also worth remembering that if you overestimate your skills, you might end up paying for it twice as you will have to get a professional in to fix it.
Mistake 6: Rushing to make an offer
While it may be necessary to make a decision very quickly, especially if your market is moving at lightning speed, any sense of agent created urgency can usually be ignored.
However, there is a fine balance between being prepared up front, having done your homework and a losing a property because you’ve taken longer than really you need.
It’s also easy to ignore vital steps such as neighbourhood safety, schools, and parking. As well as is the local shop is open late and within walking distance?!
Also by taking your time, you can consider what the property is worth and the research to back up your offer.
Mistake 7: Dragging your feet
Easily one of the most common house buying mistakes that first-time buyers make is dragging their feet. Understandably, it’s tough to ensure make sure you make a careful decision, but speed is as important.
So, don’t take too long to make it. Losing out on a property because someone beat you to it is heartbreaking, especially if your offer would have been higher!
Mistake 8: Offering too much
It’s easy to let your emotion get the better of you. And it’s even easier to start a bidding war. You should avoid this at all costs.
Therefore take time to consider what’s happening in your local property market.
Start by researching transactions from the last few years in that street. When your ready make an offer, start with a price which is slightly under the current average sold price for that street. This way you can sweeten deal should you be rejected at the first attempt.
Never pay for future potential, today. Instead, believe that you will get lucky over the time you live in the property and see a good financial return while creating lots of happy memories.
How to avoid these common house buying mistakes
While we’ve outlined our top 8 common house buying mistakes and how to avoid them. Sadly, there are many more pitfalls you will encounter. Therefore, it’s worth thinking first, acting with caution rather than asking for forgiveness at a later date, when it all goes wrong. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve avoided or seen others make?