You may have read about home buyers who pulled out all the
stops with their offer so they wouldn’t lose out to other buyers, only to regret
their purchase later on. They may have offered much more than asking price,
waived their inspections, or both. Though most people don’t experience buyer’s
remorse, the likelihood of it happening increases when inventory is low and there
are multiple bidders on the same home.
Here are five ways to minimize the chance this will happen to you.
1. Stay Focused on Features You Really Need
Make a list of your “must have” features, and be sure any home you consider checks off those boxes. For example, if you know you need four bedrooms—or at least three bedrooms plus an office—keep this requirement front and center so that you aren’t “wowed” by a home that looks great but doesn’t really have all the space you need.
2. Read the Seller’s Disclosure Carefully
Before making an offer, go over each section of the seller’s disclosure carefully for red flags that would cause you to change your mind about the home or issues that would affect how much you’re willing to pay. The disclosure covers many details, including:
- Structural problems
- Age of the heater, air
conditioner, and roof
- Environmental issues like
lead paint, radon, and mold
- Problems with the well or
- Whether the sellers
obtained the required permits for additions or alterations made during their
3. Think Twice Before Waiving Inspections
Inspections are valuable because they may uncover problems the sellers are unaware of or issues they thought were not important enough to disclose but that may be a headache for the next homeowner. Inspections are also recommended because unscrupulous sellers may choose not to disclose problems that could deter buyers or cause them to offer a lower price.
When faced with competition from other buyers, some buyers have waived inspections to make their offer more attractive to the sellers. Waiving inspections can be risky though, particularly for older homes or homes that have not been well cared for. After moving in, you may find problems that are difficult or expensive to fix.
If you’re competing for a home but don’t want to waive inspections, consider other ways to make your offer more attractive to the sellers:
- Can you waive the financing contingency and pay
- Are you
willing to commit to paying the purchase price (or other agreed-upon amount)
even if the home appraises for less?
- Would you offer a higher price if it means the
sellers will agree to inspections?
4. Don’t Buy More Than You Can Afford
Like many buyers, you may decide to increase your price range if you don’t see homes you like at the price you initially targeted. Just be sure not to stretch beyond what you’ll be comfortable with financially once you move in and start paying the bills.
Keep in mind that the cost of home ownership includes more than the mortgage, real estate taxes, and homeowner’s insurance. You’ll also need to budget for routine maintenance, such as yardwork, plumbing and electrical repairs, and heater, air conditioner, and roof maintenance and repairs. Depending on the condition of the home, you may also want to leave room in your budget for new paint and carpet or even more substantial projects, such as new windows or siding.
5. Take a Deep Breath
When housing inventory is low, finding the right home and navigating the purchase process can be more challenging. You don’t want to pass up a home that works for you, but if you’re feeling pressure to buy something that may not really fit your needs or is a financial stretch, take a moment to step back and ask yourself, “Is this really the best move for me?”
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Read more of Annette’s real estate articles for the latest real estate advice.
If you’re planning to buy or sell a home, contact Annette Nelson at (610) 247-7892 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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