Business Insider asked real-estate agents around the US about what it’s really like working in the industry, what they wish they could tell their clients, and the biggest mistakes they see people making when trying to buy a home.
1. Assuming every home’s price is negotiable.
Jared Barnett, a Compass agent told Business Insider, “Sellers use different strategies when pricing their home.” “Sometimes it is priced with room for negotiations, but other times it’s priced to get multiple offers, potentially going over the asking price.”
2. Getting distracted by the “flashy” details and ignoring the actual quality of a home.
“It’s important not to be seduced by the icing on the cake,” Brian K. Lewis of Compass, who sells $2 million to $10 million homes in New York City, told Business Insider. “Ignore the icing and focus on the substance of a home — the quality of the construction and the level of finish.”
3. Not putting down the largest down payment possible.
Alan Hedrick of Compass says “Putting a larger down payment could significantly reduce your monthly spending on your mortgage,” “It’s okay to ask for outside help, like a gift for a down payment if it will help you obtain homeownership faster.”
4. Making a lowball offer.
According to Tim Swearingen of Coldwell Banker “offending the seller with lowball offers — let the brokers gauge the clients informally with each other,” he said. “We are paid to negotiate and have a fiduciary duty to our clients. Let us work.”
5. Limiting your search to a specific style of home.
Dana Bartel, an agent at Compass quotes, “A home is where you make it and if it works for your lifestyle,” Bartel said. “Not necessarily what it looks like on the outside.”
6. Not thinking about selling the home one day.
According to Gerard Marino, “They forget that eventually they will need to sell,” Marino said. “Most everything can be fixed but location, location, location can’t be fixed. Buy location, NOT price. ”
7. Trying to buy without an agent.
Gill Chowdhury of Warburg Realty; “I don’t care how good you are at math, how crazy your excel skills are, there are too many intangibles that you won’t be able to calculate for and you’ll make a mistake,” Chowdhury said. “For what? The theoretical savings of 1% or 2%. You’re kidding yourself.”
8. Overlooking important details like the condition of the roof or hot water tank.
“Buyers go with what they feel and many times ignore the ‘important’ details in a home such as: is the electric up to code? If it isn’t, not only is it a fire hazard, but it is costly to update,” Noemi Bitterman of Warburg Realty told Business Insider.
9. Passing on a great home early in the search because you think you’ll find something better.
Butch Haze, an agent in San Francisco, said, “They will pass it up because they saw it too early in their search process and they will spend years looking for that one perfect house they wish they made the offer on,” Haze said. “Now the market has moved on them and they are paying more for less which no one likes to do.”
10. Not seeing the true potential of a home.
Many buyers don’t look at the “bones” and true potential of a home but instead, get distracted by the bright red walls or ugly cabinets.
11. Holding out for the “perfect” home.
If you find a place that checks seven of the 10 boxes you’re looking for, you should take it. ‘I love it, but I’m going to keep looking’ = you’re going to lose out on the home you love and then regret delaying later on.
12. Buying a home you’re hesitant about.
“Overall, I would say, if you have any doubts, second guesses or are spending more time worrying about some aspect of the purchase, rather than being excited about it, then it’s not the right home for you and it’s probably best to walk away from it.” Said, Robin Kencel of The Robin Kencel Group at Compass in Connecticut.