Let’s face the facts: Buying a home in the DC Metro Area can be an amazing experience, but it can also be quite complicated. With emotions running high, it’s all too easy for homebuyers to skip over crucial steps and make mistakes. But don’t worry! I’ve laid out some of the biggest mistakes that homebuyers make below so you will know to avoid them.
Low-balling the Seller
If you find a house that you absolutely love in an area like Bethesda, don’t play games: work with your agent to come up with a reasonable offer based on the sales of comparable properties in the area. Some buyers seem to think that taking their time and making a seller “sweat” is a good strategy for getting the best price possible. Don’t fall into this trap! You will likely never be the only one interested in buying a particular home, so if you find one that you love, get it before it’s gone. Don’t kill the deal by making too low of an offer or by making excessive estimates for repairs.
Not Reading Contracts
When you sign a real estate contract, you’re entering into a huge financial obligation. And while it seems like common sense that you should always read (and understand) all of the terms and conditions, many homebuyers do not. A good idea is to have your agent go over your contracts with you, section by section. Because contracts are legally binding, it’s crucial that you discover any issues before you sign.
Spending Too Much
Your pre-approval amount should act as a guide, showing you what you could pay for a home in the DC Metro Area if you maxed out your finances. Your pre-approval amount should not, however, be the price that you buy at. Buying at the absolute limit of your price range will likely leave you “house poor,” which means you’ll be able to make the mortgage payment and cover recurring expenses, but then you’ll have little or nothing left for recreation or other projects. So instead of buying at the top of your approval level, buy within your comfort level: a level where you’ll still have sufficient money left over for other things.