Beware of Buyer Bad Habits

Written by Posted On Sunday, 31 December 2023 00:00

Unless you buy and sell several properties every year and concentrate on the investment side of these purchases, you probably don’t have enough practice buying real estate to be really good at it.

If practice makes perfect, then without going through the real-estate-buying process a few times within a short period of time, your buying skills are less than perfect. Since most buyers, especially first timers and first-time-in-a-long timers, want just one property—their perfect home, their dream home—there may be a serious problem here.

When you tackle something new, complex, and essentially foreign to you, do you expect to get it right the first time?

With real estate, mistakes can be expensive and hard to live with. On the other hand, smart purchases can save money, improve quality of life, and keep you safe in these troubled times. Quite a gap.

Many buyers are their own worst enemy. 

They insist that they want to own their own home and then they act in almost-DIY ways that put that outcome at risk:

#1. Analysis Paralysis

Spreadsheets can be a downfall for real estate buyers. The goal is not to analyze all the houses or condominium units in your preferred neighborhoods, but to buy one home. Once you start collecting data and spending time calculating, instead of focusing on your up-coming purchase, you are off track.

Your real estate professional must be the one who is all about data, not you. Their job is to know the current trends and anticipate what’s coming next, so they can select the best properties to show you. Benefit from your real estate professional’s expertise:

1) Ask your professional how to really look at a property when you view a house or condominium. You want to see the bones of the house, not clever decor which can hide imperfections or distract from problems.

2) Understand what you’ll get for your money in a price range, in a location, or in a property style. Where do compromises lie? Decide which features and benefits matter most to you.

Your role is to determine what you want, need, and want to avoid in your new home. You should be an expert on that, not on what’s up in real estate in general. Focus on what you are looking for, not on what other buyers or your friends are doing. Your real estate professional is following neighborhood data closely and will relay relevant details to you, especially when you ask questions.

Get home buying right: If you love data, select a real estate professional that loves it too. Not just someone who will swamp you with numbers to keep you happy and distracted, but a professional intent on locating that perfect match with as little hassle as possible and at the price that matches your budget. Let the real estate professional gather details on all the listings out there. That’s their job and they use this information to help the many buyers they work with. You want to understand values in your preferred area, so that you can make a smart, practical offer on the right home.

#2. “Looky Loos”

Have you and your partner made viewing homes your favorite entertainment—online and off? When viewing, are you looking for reasons why a property won’t work for you instead of mentally re-imagining someone else’s home as your dream home? Even staged real estate doesn’t tell buyers the whole story about what a home can become. When you can imagine your future in that house or condominium unit, make an offer.

Double-digit viewings mean you have lost sight of why you want to move and what you should invest in. Do you see that new life, perhaps downsizing, or are you holding on to the past? If you are in the right price range and location, why aren’t the properties a match for you? Is the real estate professional just not listening to you or are you not conveying the right information? Review your budget and goals together. Stop wasting time and get on target.

Get home buying right: Virtual viewing and open houses can make this obsession worse. Making a decision about which real estate to buy can become even harder. Many of us love looking at real estate for a wide variety of reasons. That’s why there is so much media to allow us to do just that. But searching for a home to buy is a different activity with different perspectives. Let your real estate professional narrow the viewing range for you, so confusion and indecision are not your prime reactions.

#3. It takes an offer!

Recently, I met two couples who are intent on buying, but are very discouraged at seeing so many houses and having nothing to show for this effort. When I asked how many offers each couple had made, I was surprised at their answer: none. They had seen properties that would work for them, but neither couple made an offer.

They are shopping in different price ranges and different areas, but they have the same two problems:

1) They are fixating on the below-market listing practice designed to generate multiple offers. This is distracting them from deciding what each property is worth to them. These buyers want to know what the owner wants, so they can offer that price but no more, that is, get it right. Not knowing exactly which is the right price to offer is keeping them from making an offer on anything.

2) Making an offer is not an automatic next step for buyers. They may not know the buying process. The real estate professionals for these buyers have not asked if their buyers want to make an offer. If these buyers are not told when to consider making an offer, they may never get there. 

Not asking buyers to make an offer is one of the most common mistakes inexperienced, lax, or distracted real estate professionals make.

Get home buying right: Making an offer does not cost anything. Nor is it any work for the buyer. The real estate professional, with technology’s help, takes care of those details and gets the job done. Their professional’s analysis of market value can help dispel confusion regarding price.

#4. Going Backward Financially

However you celebrate the spend-a-thon holiday season, do not make your credit card and debit card the prime holiday stars. Progress through this short season, without spending beyond your means. Celebrate using your brain and your creativity instead of spending according to someone else’s marketing plan. The greatest gifts are shared experiences and your time.

Racking up huge credit card debt and emptying out your debit card account will impact your home buying in two ways:

1) Undermining your financial flexibility may make it harder to qualify for a large-enough mortgage or to pay related closing costs.

2) Decide which is more important to you—a home or holiday spending. The time and money spent shopping, online or off, could be applied to house hunting.

Get home buying right: Listings on the market in December are owned by serious sellers, so get out there and make a deal.

Leverage the experience of real estate professionals. They want you to. 

The right professional will help you get home buying right!

Happy Home Buying!

A Safe, Rewarding Holiday Season to All!

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PJ Wade —       Decisions & Communities

Futurist and Achievement Strategist PJ WADE is “The Catalyst”—intent on Challenging The Best to Become Even Better. A dynamic problem solver and author of 8 books and more than 2800 published articles, PJ concentrates on the knowledge, insight, communication prowess, and special decision-making skills essential for professionals and their clients who are determined to thrive in the 21st-Century vortex of change.

PJ Wade's latest business bookWhat's Your Point? Cut The Crap, Hit The Mark & Stick!—further proves PJ's forward-thinking expertise and her on-point ability to explain technical, even non-verbal, communication details in practical, actionable terms. Print publication: Fall 2022.

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As The Catalyst, PJ concentrates on enhancing communication ROI for experienced advisors, executives, entrepreneurs, business owners, and other savvy professionals, who may not have received as much formal training in communication as they have in their own field.

Onward & Upward—The directions that really matter! Reach PJ at [email protected] and visit her What's Your Point? Blog. Keep up-to-date with PJ's popular column  Decisions & Communities

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