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6 Terrible Homebuyer Habits You Should Ditch If You Want To Score a House This Spring

Thinking of buying a home right now? You’re certainly not alone, as we’re sure you’ve noticed. With the busiest season for house hunting well underway, sellers are throwing open their doors—and buyers (aka your competition) are showing up in droves.

So how do you win when so many others are also vying for your dream home? Well, first you have to make sure not to screw up the job.

We’re not pointing fingers here. It’s normal to make some missteps along the way, whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned pro. After all, the housing market has been brutal recently, with high mortgage rates and high home prices grinding down buyers.

But to give you the best advantage possible, we’ve rounded up some common bad habits that potential homebuyers often exhibit. Take a look, see if you’re guilty of any of these—and then read on for how to hit the reset button.

1. Not knowing what the seller wants

In competitive markets, homes go under contract quickly with multiple offers. Indeed, sellers often go with the highest bid—but that’s not always the case.

You might not even have to have the deepest pockets to win a bidding war.

“Besides price, there are many other factors a seller considers,” says Brie Schmidt, owner and managing broker at Second City Real Estate in Chicago. “It is important to have your real estate agent ask the seller’s agent what terms are ideal for the seller.”

For example, the sellers might prefer a fast or longer closing time to find their new home.

“They might not want to deal with the hassle of repairs and would take a lower offer if it was for an as-is condition,” says Schmidt.

Additionally, you can give sellers extra peace of mind by offering earnest money or an underwritten approval letter from your lender, which is almost as strong as a cash offer, according to Michael J. Vestuto, an agent with Vestuto Realty Group in Las Vegas.

“The more worry-free you can make the process for the seller, the better they will feel

about working with you,” says Vestuto.

2. Second-guessing yourself

Buying a home is a huge commitment, and feeling anxious about making the wrong choice is natural. But when you head down Second-Guessing Avenue after you’ve found your “just right home,” don’t park there too long.

“Once you find a home, stop shopping and second-guessing your decision unless something changes, such as a home you made an offer on previously comes back to the market that you liked more,” says Vestuto.

Indecisiveness could cost you the house if another buyer swoops in while you’re hemming and hawing.

3. Staying with an agent who isn’t a good fit

Breaking up is hard, even in business relationships, but you shouldn’t grin and bear it if your agent isn’t skilled or compatible.

“Having the right agent by your side is critical—it’s like a short-term marriage,” says Vickey Barron, a licensed associate real estate broker at Compass in New York City.

The ideal agent should fully understand your needs, be a good listener, respond to your questions promptly, and offer advice on making solid offers.

“If you feel they are just an order taker, scheduling showings for homes only you pick out, and not a valuable resource, then it is time to find one that is a better fit,” adds Schmidt.

4. Asking for too many freebies from the seller

Have you ever toured a home that is impeccably furnished or has all the high-end appliances you could ever want for your dream kitchen?

It’s tempting to ask the seller to throw some of your favorite stuff gratis, but that six-burner Viking range might not be included in the home sale.

“Asking for everything for free can come across as demanding and disrespectful. Instead, focus on fair negotiations that benefit both parties involved,” says Fran Lisner, a real estate agent with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty on Long Island.

“This approach shows that you’re serious and respectful of the seller’s investment, increasing the likelihood of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement,” adds Lisner.

5. Not asking the right questions

Who can blame you for not remembering the essential questions to ask when buying a home when you’re captivated by things like gorgeous wallpaper, a cozy window seat, and a new deck overlooking a lush lawn?

But many critical elements in and outside the home are far more important than the aesthetics.

How old are the roof and heating and cooling systems? Are there easements or property line disputes with the home?

“Don’t focus on the pretty wallpaper or the kitchen cabinets,” says Barron. “You’re buying more than what meets the eye—and not peeling back the onion and asking important questions can be costly.”

6. Waiving inspections

Waiving inspections to gain a competitive edge over other buyers has become more common in a hot seller’s market. Forgoing an inspection can be very appealing to a seller because there’s less of a chance the buyers discover an expensive problem they’ll want fixed and it keeps the closing process on track.

“As a Realtor®, I will never suggest a buyer waive their inspection. Waiving the inspection could cost the buyer tens of thousands of dollars and major headaches down the road,” says Schmidt.

You could still woo the seller with a strong offer by including an “as-is condition” clause, which would allow an inspection. However, the seller isn’t responsible for repairs.

Do you have more questions? Contact me today for a free buyer consultation.

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