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The Top 5 Mistakes Home Buyers Make ó And How to Avoid Them

From the beginning of your home search through closing escrow, thereís an awful lot to think about 
and do.

Itís not unusual to make a mistake along the way. But with the financial stakes so high, a false move 
can end up costing you a lot of money.

Here are five common home buyer mistakes, with tips on how to avoid them.

 

You expect to get the price down after making an offer

The real estate market is heating up across the country. In many markets, homes are selling for more than asking price.

Some buyers win the bidding war by going over asking ó only to try to negotiate the price down by asking for credits 
during escrow. This strategy may work sometimes, especially in a weak sellerís market. But weíre in a competitive 
market for buyers now, so donít count on it.

The seller most likely will have a backup offer from another buyer who really wants the home ó and who is hoping 
your deal falls through. If you start asking for unwarranted credits, the seller may simply go with the backup offer, 
leaving you out in the cold.

A better strategy: Make your best offer, and donít assume you can negotiate it down later.

You wait until the eleventh hour to ask for credits

You should ask for credits if an inspection turns up potentially costly repair work you didnít know about when you 
made your offer.

But even in a buyerís market, donít assume you can get sellers to cave in to unreasonable demands at the last minute.

You chase a deal at all costs

Everyone wants to save money, especially on a high-ticket item such as real estate.

Unfortunately, this causes some would-be buyers to make lowball offers in hopes of getting a ďdeal.Ē Or, potential 
buyers lose out on homes they might have been able to get otherwise, which ends up costing money in the long run.

In a strong real estate market, the deals are in homes that have been overpriced and havenít sold as a result, and/or 
properties that donít show well because they need work.

If the home you want is well-priced, in a good neighborhood and doesnít need much work, the best strategy is to 
make a solid offer and be prepared to go over asking if necessary.

You think you can do it all yourself

With so much information about homes available online today, many people, such as tech-savvy Gen X and Gen Y home 
buyers, may assume they can buy a home without a real estate agentís help.

But this strategy often backfires.

First of all, the real estate agentís role isnít just about finding listings. With Internet access, buyers can easily find listings 
themselves. The agentís role today is more about presenting your offer to the sellerís agent in a way that will help get it 
accepted and making sure it sticks through an escrow.

A savvy agent knows the ins and outs of the local market better than an uninformed buyer with a full-time job and family. 
A good agent will know the back-stories behind the comps, for example.

He or she will know that a comparable home sold for 5 percent less (than the home youíre considering) only because the 
sellers were divorcing, or the property had a retaining wall problem. Without an agent, youíd simply see that the 
comparable home sold for 5 percent less.

You might ask the seller of the home to match that 5 percent reduction ó and youíd be surprised when the seller says, 
ďNo thanks.Ē

Also, experienced agents have a strong network in the local market, which can give you an added edge. Good agents like 
to work with other good agents.

And if nothing else, keep in mind that a listing agent might not even consider working with an unrepresented buyer.

Finally, the seller pays the buyerís real estate commission, so having an agent for your home search costs you nothing 
anyway.

Most importantly, thereís bound to come a time during the complicated real estate transaction when you have serious 
doubts or big questions.

Your agent can be the trusted adviser you need to walk you through the maze.

You donít think like a seller

Most likely, at some point in the future youíll need to sell the home youíre about to buy. Thatís why itís important to 
think like a potential seller as well as a buyer.

When youíre buying a home, put yourself in a potential sellerís shoes. The last thing you want is to buy a dream home 
that becomes a nightmare when itís time to sell.

"The Top 5 Mistakes Home Buyers Make - And How to Avoid Them" was provided by Zillow.com.