Looking at homes for sale — sounds like a no brainer, right? Not if you look at it through the eyes of a real estate professional.
From falling in love with yummy paint colors to going ga-ga over granite counter tops, the sad truth is that homebuyers go about it all wrong. This, in turn, may set them up for disappointment and regret.
Let’s take a look at some common mistakes homebuyers make when touring homes so that you can avoid making them.
Ditch the emotions
In a recent poll, the majority of respondents said that they are “rational rather than emotional buyers.” Yet, when asked why they bought the house they did, here’s their responses:
- 37 percent of them liked the “feel/vibe” of the home
- 22 percent were instantly attracted to the home
- Slightly less, 21 percent, said the home suited their personalities
Now, I don’t know about you, but those do not sound like rational reasons to go hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt, for the next 30 years.
But wait – there’s more.
Nineteen percent of first-time buyers were influenced by the home’s décor (proof that staging works).
Most surprising, however, is that nearly 45 percent of these homebuyers said they paid more for the home because they “really liked it.” Love at first site isn’t a good reason to make a major financial decision.
A separate study, performed earlier this year, seems to indicate that members of Gen Z make this mistake more than any other demographic. They want the home they purchase to be “Instagram-ready.”
Watch for these danger zones when touring homes for sale
Emotions may come into play at several points during the purchase process.
Curb appeal – It’s what lures you into the house. Sure, if the homeowners care enough to maintain the home’s exterior, chances are good the interior has been kept up as well. But, it’s a danger zone because too many fall head-over-heels for the charm or sophistication of a home’s curb appeal and become blinded to the interior’s flaws.
Checking out the interior — Everything from wall colors to floor covering to furnishings can hook your emotions. And, they are all temporary. That gorgeous couch that makes the living room won’t be there when you move in. Remember, a smart home seller will stage their home to deliberately make an emotional connection with potential buyers.
It’s all about the bones
Take off the rose-colored glasses and allow logic to take control. Layout in a home is important – are there areas that seem to serve no useful purpose? Are the bedrooms the appropriate size for your (and your family’s) needs? Regardless of how charming the bathroom appears, if it’s the only one in the house, will you be satisfied?
Kitchens deserve extra scrutiny since they’re the room most commonly staged. Storage is important so don’t be afraid to open the pantry, cupboards and drawers. Open appliance doors to ensure they aren’t impeded by the cabinets.
“Is there good flow between frequently used rooms? Are rooms arranged logically? Look at how traffic travels through the house as a whole,” suggests Andrea Fonash, Lead Realtor at the Fonash Shelton Group.
This is valuable information, especially if the home is poorly decorated or messy. Just as a staged home can lure buyers, a dirty home repels them. It would be a pity to walk away from a home that has most of what you want just because you hate the carpet or the house is cluttered.
Then, there’s this
Too many emotional homebuyers neglect to consider other aspects of the home when they fall in love.
How close to your maximum pre-approval amount will the purchase be? And, if it’s at the max, how tight will the payments squeeze your budget?
Is the list price appropriate for the market or is it priced more than market value? What about the area in which it’s located? Will it have an impact on the home’s future market value?
Sure, it’s fine to imagine your sofa in front of that yummy fireplace or how much fun the kids will have in that amazing backyard. Most of us struggle between logic and emotion when considering a large purchase.
The trick is to walk that fine line between both of them.