How to Relieve Home Buyers’ Stress
How to Relieve Home Buyers’ Stress
House hunting is not always an easy task. In fact, it can often be quite the roller coaster ride! With the ups when you find a home you like and want to purchase … and downs when it goes into multiple offers and you lose the deal. It can be frustrating for both the Buyers and the Buyers’ Agent.
Trust me when I tell you, your Agent wants to get you into a home almost as quickly as you’d like to get into one. I mean, it’s true that they don’t get paid until you Close on your house! So let’s take a look at how to relieve home buyers’ stress!
Start by knowing that your Agent is doing their best to find what you are looking for as quickly as possible, both to serve you well and, selfishly, to get paid. But you must also know there are many things that are out of their control, like Seller’s bailing on a deal at the last minute or multiple offers on a property of interest.
So how can you prepare as a Buyer for what’s ahead? Here are some of the things that could be stumbling blocks to keep in mind as you go into the home buying process so you don’t feel blindsided if it happens to you:
- BUDGET – know your budget. How much do you spend per month on the necessities in life? Layout your budget so you know exactly what you can afford before your home search. This will save time in looking at only those homes that fit in your budget.
- LENDER – meet with your lender so you can start the process of determining the costs of purchasing a home prior to your search (Closing costs, Attorney fees, Broker fees, Agent fees, Title fees, Inspection fees, etc). He/She will advise you how much you can afford to purchase a home and put a limit on the amount of taxes you can take on in addition, in order to stay on your budget. You should know in advance how much money you will need to bring to Closing so you can start saving now to ensure you are ‘ready to buy’ when you find a house that suits your family. They will also provide you with the necessary loan pre-qualification letter so that you have it when ready to make an offer.
- REALTOR® – choose an Agent that is a member of your local and National Association of REALTORS®. These Agents are bound by ethical standards, are held to a higher level of integrity and have more access to properties than non-members. They can also provide information regarding some of the fees you will encounter during a home purchase.
- PAPER, PAPER AND MORE PAPER – yes, you will be filling out numerous forms during the process of buying a home. Lender forms, REALTOR® forms, Attorney forms, etc. Get ready to tackle a lot of paperwork! Buying a home is one of the largest investments you will encounter in your life and these forms are in place to protect you as a purchaser! As well as to protect the Seller and all those you are working with as well. So there will be much to do. Your Lender, REALTOR® and/or Attorney will go over everything with you to ensure you have an understanding before signing anything. Don’t let it overwhelm you. And if you don’t understand something, do not hesitate to ask questions. They are there to help you through the process!
- PREPARE – get to know some of the pitfalls you could come across in searching for properties that can take a seemingly great deal, to a screeching halt. There are many, and preparing for what’s ahead can save you much stress from high expectations. For example:
- Picture deception – a good photographer can make most any house look good in pictures. This can be deceiving and disappointing upon arrival. There’s the ‘fish eye’ lens that makes rooms look bigger; lighting that makes a home look brighter; touch-ups that doctor up flaws; selection to avoid posting pictures of the home’s shortcomings; etc. Be prepared to be surprised at what you may find.
- Clutter – you may enter homes that are ‘lived in’ and make it hard to see yourself living there among their chaos. Do your best to look past the ‘stuff’ and see the space. The stuff will be gone when you move in.
- Potential for multiple offers – if you choose a nice home, it simply stands to reason that it will be likely that others may like the same home. Unfortunately, if it happens as the same time, you may need to be ready for a multiple offer situation. Know your limits, because you don’t want to pay more for a house than it’s worth; nor do you want to spend more than you can afford just to get the house. Know that in this situation, you may have to prepare to walk away from homes that you like. It’s okay … there’s more!
- Seller’s remorse – it doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen. A time may come that you are close to Closing on a property and a Seller decides they no longer want to sell the home. So sometimes it’s best to keep looking until you Close … just in case! It helps to know the reason someone is moving, so you can judge if they are motivated to sell or just want to at the time.
- Inspection finds –Buyers are encouraged to have a home inspection prior to agreeing to Close on a property. Some unrecognizable factors to the Buyers eye could break the bank and have them looking for financial concession from the Seller or cause them to move on to find a more viable option. For example:
- Structural Flaws – You can’t always see structural flaws in pictures, so you could show up and notice what we call ‘rolling floors’ due to the house bowing down around the structural support beams or failed footings. Or you enter the basement to see bowing walls and stacked stone supports. These could fail a structural inspection.
- Infestation – rodents and termites and ants, oh my! And bats (attic, chimney), spiders, bees, birds’ nests (in soffits, dryer vents, gutters…), squirrels (attic), bunnies, cats, etc. (bunnies or cats could have had babies under your porch or deck!) A good inspector may be able to notice visible signs of infestation (ie – chewed electrical wire, rodent droppings, burrowing trails in wood, nests, etc) so that you can ensure the issue is remediated prior to Closing.
- Efflorescence – this is the white powdery residue left on basement walls after having been wet. This suggests a moisture or seepage issue in the basement, which can cause significant damage over time to the foundation walls.
- Mold – it’s not always green! Black mold is an allergen that can cause serious illness if congested over time. This will need to be remediated prior to occupancy, as is unsafe living conditions.
- Asbestos – this is the big one and is often hidden. It can be
- insulation in the walls, in the attic and/or around the plumbing in the basement;
- on the exterior walls as siding under the vinyl or roofing tiles;
- on the floors as vinyl tile, typically on lower levels to serve as insulation…
- Mechanical fail – as long as the property is in functioning condition (power is on, water is on, gas is on, etc.), your inspector should test the mechanicals in a home (i.e. electrical panel, heating system, cooling system, plumbing, appliances, etc.) They won’t be able to guarantee how long a system will last or how well it works, but they can tell you if it is functioning at the time of the inspection.
- Radon – there is a test that takes a couple of days in a basement area and sent off for testing to determine if you have radon, which is a gas that, if congested over long periods at a high level capacity, could cause cancer. (legal limit .4) If you have high levels of radon, a radon system to dispel such gasses should be installed prior to occupancy.
- Septic – a separate septic inspection should be done on a septic system to ensure the system has capacity for the size of the property, has been maintained properly (pumping regularly – should be pumped out every 2-3 years), leech field is not failing and proper sewage flow from house into tank.
- Well flow – first you will need to determine if your well is dug or drilled. The difference is typically that a dug well will be a more shallow well system. These are usually common in wetland areas where the flow rate is strong at a higher level, so no need to go deeper. The well inspection should test for output flow rate and water level. The Water Well Board suggests that a minimum water supply capacity for domestic internal household use should be at least 600 gallons of water within a two (2) hour period, once each day. This is equivalent to a flow rate of five (5) gallons per minute(gpm) for two (2) hours. They will also test the pump for motor performance and the holding tank for water pressure level. A water test is not always included, so be sure to request a water test to rule out arsenic, radon, VOCs, bacteria, nitrate/nitrite, lead, etc.
I could probably go on and on. But the point is to just go in to the home buying process ‘expecting the unexpected’. It will help to deter disappointment at every turn. There is never any telling what you may find when you enter someone else’s home. But that doesn’t make it a deal breaker. You just may want to try to renegotiate the deal with that particular Seller, or choose to move on to find a better deal.
As a REALTOR®, I can tell you that I always do my very best for my Clients. But I can’t always forsee the pitfalls in every property. We just have to do our best to get through it, get past it and keep moving forward until we find the home that fits your family!
There is another way to avoid these pitfalls. Are you ready to take on a fixer upper? Yes, there are many of the same pitfalls in flipping a house. But become the original Buyer, so we fix everything we can that is in your budget.
Our main focus starts with the mechanical and structural integrity of the property. We want to ensure everything works behind the walls before adding the finishes that you can see when its finished.
And then, of course, we will do our best to create a beautiful living space for your family, from top to bottom. No worries about multiple offers or failed inspections … we will have our own inspector pass the home prior to occupancy! It will be our mission to give you your dream home on your budget!
So whether you take on the stress of buying a house on the market or taking on a fixer upper…
We are the to your property solution!
It is our business to relieve home buyers’ stress!