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7 Buyer Traps
& how to avoid them

No matter how you look at it, buying a home is a major investment.  But for many homebuyers, it can be an even more expensive process than it needs to be because many fall prey to at least a few of the many common and costly mistakes which trap them in to either:
Paying too much for the home they want
Losing their dream home to another buyer, or
buying the wrong home for their needs.
  1.  Bidding Blind
What price should you offer when you bid on a home?  Is the seller's asking price too high, or does it represent a terrific deal?  If you fail to research the market in order to understand what comparable homes are selling for, making your offer would be like bidding blind.  Without this knowledge of market value, you could easily bid too much, or fail to make a competitive offer at all on an excellent value.
  2.  Not getting Mortgage Pre-Approval
Pre-Approval is fast, easy, and FREE.  This Pre-Approval can mean the difference of someone accepting your offer, or losing your dream home to someone who does have a Pre-Approval.  (Note:  Pre-Qualification is not the same as Pre-Approval.  Pre-Quals are very basic and do not guarantee a buyer's ability to purchase.  Contact one of the lenders to the right to obtain a Pre-Approval.
  3. Unclear Title
Make sure very early in the buying process that you will own your new home free and clear from encumbrances by having a title search completed.  The last thing you want to discover when you're in the backstretch of a transaction is that there are encumbrances on the property such as tax liens, undisclosed owners, easements, leases or the like.
  4.  Undisclosed Fix-ups
Don't expect every seller to own up to every physical detail that will need to be attended to.  Both you and the seller are out to maximize your investment.  Ensure that you conduct a thorough inspection of the home early in the process.  It is strongly recommended that you hire a licensed professional to objectively view the home inside and out, and make the final contract contingent upon this inspector's report.  The inspector should be able to give you a report of any item that needs to be fixed with associated, approximate cost.
  5.  Buying the wrong home
What are you looking for in a home?  A simple enough question, but the answer can be quite complex.  More than one buyer has been swept up in the emotion and excitement of the buying process only to find themselves the owner of a home that is either too big or too small.  Take the time upfront to clearly define your wants and needs.  Put it in writing and then use it as a yard stick with which to measure every home you look at.  Be realistic though!
  6.  Hidden Costs
Make sure you identify and uncover all costs - large and small - far enough ahead of time to act.  When a transactions closes , you will sometimes find extra fees for this or that sneaking through after the "Sub-Total".  Extra fees such as loan disbursement charges, underwriting fees, etc.  Understand these fees in advance and demand that your lender project total charges for you in writing.  This disclosure is called a "Good Faith Estimate" and must be provided to you by law.  This measure will help you to avoid hidden charges.
  7.  Rushing the closing paperwork
Take your time during your visit to sign the final paperwork.  Make sure this documentation reflects your understanding of the transaction, and that nothing has been added or subtracted.  Is the interest rate correct?  Is everything covered?  If you rush through this process on the day of closing, you may be sorry later.  Take your time when signing!