Deadly Mistake #1: Thinking you can’t afford it.
Today, buying the home of your dreams is easier than ever before. Many people who thought that buying the home they wanted was simply out of their reach are now enjoying a new lifestyle in their very own new home. Buying a home is the smartest financial decision you will ever make. In fact, most American and Canadian homeowners would be financially broke at retirement if it wasn’t for one saving grace – the equity in their home. Furthermore, mortgage rates are more flexible today than ever and tax allowances favor home ownership. Real estate values have always risen steadily. Of course there are peaks and valleys, but the long term the trend is a consistent increase. This means that every month when you make a mortgage payment the amount that you owe on the home goes down and the value typically increases. This owe less/worth more situation is called equity build-up and is the reason you can’t afford not to buy. Even if you have little money for a down payment or credit problems, chances are that you can still buy that new home. It just comes down to knowing the right strategies, and working with the right people.
Deadly Mistake #2: Not hiring a top-notch real estate agent to represent you.
Buying property is a complex and stressful task. In fact, it is often the biggest single investment you will make in your lifetime. At the same time, real estate transactions have become increasingly complicated. New technology, laws, procedures and competition from other buyers require buyer agents to perform at an ever-increasing level of professionalism. For many homebuyers, the process turns into a terrible, stressful ordeal. In addition, making the wrong decisions can end up costing you thousands of dollars. It does not have to be this way! Work with an agent who has a keen understanding of the real estate business and who is on your side. Real Estate agents have a fiduciary duty to you. That means they are loyal to only you and are obligated to look out for your best interests. Agents can help you find the best home, the best lender and the best inspector. Best of all, in most cases, the buyer’s agent is paid out of the seller’s commission, even though he/she works for you.
Trying to buy a home without an agent at all is, well… un-thinkable.
Deadly Mistake #3: Getting an inexperienced home inspector.
Buying a home is probably the most expensive purchase you will ever make. This is no time to get an inexperienced home inspector. The cost of a home inspection is very small relative to the value of the home being inspected. The additional cost of hiring an experienced certified home inspector is almost insignificant. As a home buyer, you have recently been crunching the numbers, negotiating offers, adding up closing costs, shopping for mortgages, and trying to get the best deals. Do not stop now. Do not let anyone talk you into skimping here. In Kentucky home inspectors are licensed by the Kentucky Board of Home Inspectors however the requirements to qualify for this license are very limited. Anyone can become a licensed home inspector by sitting in a class for a week and passing a test. NO EXPEREINCE IS REQUIRED!!! The license law is only the front door for inspectors and there are a lot of inspectors out there that just walked through that door. A home inspection deals with hundreds of components and thousands of possible situations that cannot be taught in a week long class. So how do you find an experienced home inspector? Here are several points to remember:
- Always interview and hire your own home inspector. Sometimes Realtors will offer to arrange your home inspection for you. Although well meaning it is not always the best route. You need verify that the home inspector is competent and provides the best services for the money. This does not mean that your Realtor cannot assist you in locating a home inspector though. Many Realtors will happily provide a list of inspectors for you to call and interview.
- The Kentucky Board of Home Inspectors website (www.bhi.ky.gov) has a list of licensed home inspectors on it that you can review. The way to pick out experienced inspectors is by looking at the individual license numbers. The requirement for Kentucky home inspectors to be licensed started in 2006 and at that time the first license number issued was HI-2001 and went up in sequence from there. All of the existing home inspections that had been in business prior to that starting date were issued the lower license numbers. As you look at the Boards list look for the inspectors with the lowest license number this will indicate the most experienced home inspectors. Use this method to verify experience claims of individual inspectors as well. If a home inspector claims 12 years experience but his license number is HI-34XX you will know something is wrong with the claim… By the way my license number is HI-2003.
- You may also want to get referrals from friends and relatives that have used a particular home inspector and found the services acceptable. Another source is organizations such as the Better Business Bureau where you can also see if that particular inspector has had consumer complaints and how they handled them.
Experienced inspectors perform the best inspections by far. Experienced inspectors earn their fees many times over. They do more, they deserve more, and, yes — they generally charge a little more. Do yourself a favor, and pay a little more for the quality inspection you deserve.
Good Luck in your search for a new home….