3 Home Search Mistakes You Might Regret

by Maurie Backman | Published on Aug. 15, 2021

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Man holding a tablet doing a virtual home tour.

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Looking to buy a home? Don't fall victim to these blunders.

Looking for a new home is no easy task. You might easily see dozens of properties before finding one you want to make an offer on, and after a while, the process of trying to find a place to live can be frustrating. But no matter what approach you take to your home search, you'll really want to avoid these three mistakes.

1. Not getting pre-approved for a mortgage

Getting a pre-approval letter doesn't guarantee you a mortgage. But it does let home sellers know that you're a serious buyer whose finances have been reviewed by a mortgage lender. And if you land in a situation where you and another buyer are duking it out over the same home, having that pre-approval offer in your hands could give you a serious edge over your competition.

Plus, once you get pre-approved to borrow a certain amount of money, you'll have an easier time knowing what price range to stick to. That could, in turn, help you narrow down your search and avoid wasting time looking at properties you can't swing financially.

2. Relying too heavily on virtual tours

These days, more and more buyers are relying on virtual tours to decide if they want to make an offer on a home rather than seeing that home in person. But if you go that route, you may end up with a property that isn't what you expect.

The professionals who create virtual home tours for listing sites are often experts at lighting and angling cameras so that homes may appear brighter and larger than they actually are. The last thing you want to do is lock yourself into a home purchase contract for a space that isn't as roomy or appealing as you think it is, so aim to see homes in person before offering to buy them. If you have COVID-related concerns, you can ask your real estate agent to schedule private tours where you're the only one looking at a given property.

3. Having too lengthy a wish list

It's natural to want the home you buy to check every key item off of your list. But if you come up with too many demands, you might struggle to find a property that meets the right criteria. This especially holds true in today's red-hot housing market, where inventory is extremely limited.

Rather than stick to a list of 14 or so must-haves, you may want to whittle it down to four or five items and compromise on some of the others that are less important. Remember that you can always renovate a home after you move in so that if it doesn't check every item off of your list immediately, it may do so in the future.

For example, if you have your heart set on granite kitchen countertops and you find an otherwise great home with laminate countertops, you can always make that upgrade down the line.

The last thing you want to do is buy the wrong home or set yourself up for an unsuccessful search. Avoid these mistakes so you can go through the process of looking for a home without any regrets.

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