Not all real estate markets are created equal and in a sellers’ market, which Los Angeles is today, there are mistakes buyers should avoid when purchasing a home.
Serious prospective buyers need to be fully prepared and have reasonable expectations in order to be the successful bidder on a property that is expected to have several offers. At the higher price ranges they can afford to be pickier as those homes tend to sit on the market longer.
Avoid these mistakes and there is a good chance you will end up with the home you are pursuing:
- You start your home search without a firm commitment from a lender as to your purchase level. Many buyers, especially first timers, think they can just go out and look at homes and contact a lender about financing once they have identified one. This does not work on two levels. No offer will be accepted without confirmation from a lender that the buyer qualifies, and they may find out that they actually do not qualify to purchase a home at that price. The first step in the home buying process is to talk to a lender to determine your buying power and then to start looking. That avoids a lot of heartache. There is nothing worse than touring homes out of your price range. It will ruin you for the ones that you can actually afford.
- You have a laundry list of wants and needs. In a competitive market you are probably not going to be able to find everything you want in a home and you need to be clear on what you may be able to live without. If not, while you are looking for the perfect home, the one you may have been able to turn into your ideal home will probably be gone. You may not like the kitchen or bathrooms, but you should consider whether you can move in, live with them for a while and then upgrade when you can afford to. Generally the perfect home is going to be out of reach financially.
- You are waiting for a deal. Every buyer wants a deal. In this market there are no deals and if you come in with a really low offer it is possible that it will not be considered, certainly if there are other offers on the table. Always make as strong an offer as possible leaving some wiggle room in case a counter offer comes back, and then you should make the best offer you can.
- You expect the seller to fix everything that is wrong with the home. Many a deal falls through when it comes to the inspection period. Always inspect but don’t expect the seller to repair every item reported on the inspection report. There may be some major items and those should definitely be addressed, but a handyman can probably fix many of the items on the report. Remember that the seller has probably lived in the home for years with many of these “faults” without a problem. An example is an outdated electrical system. The seller is generally not going to upgrade that for the new buyer.
- You lack flexibility. The purchasing of a home is about negotiation. Both sides of the deal need to feel comfortable that they are getting what they want and not being bullied into something they will regret. If each party feels the other is negotiating in good faith then the outcome will be successful.
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