The Eight Biggest Mistakes Buyers Make in Real Estate (and How to Avoid Them)

We see ourselves as advisors. With buyers, our role is to help clients find, negotiate, and purchase properties while avoiding critical mistakes in the process.

Recently we interviewed people from our team as well as our colleagues at Boulder Creative Housing. We also reviewed some of what we’ve learned in real estate here in Boulder and from our real estate experience on Nantucket.

The result is the Eight Biggest Buyer Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. As always, feel free to contact us with any comments or questions. You can also reach me at 303.746.6896.

The Eight Biggest Buyer Mistakes
(and How to Avoid Them)

Mistake #8. Skipping due diligence on location and community.

From the time it takes to commute to the quality of neighborhood schools, a lot of things can affect the enjoyment of your home that has little to do with the house itself. Will your property be impacted by the new transit-oriented developments in Boulder and along the tech corridor?

Where is the nearest grocery store, animeloved post office, gas station, and city park? Is there a landfill or factory nearby that might affect the air or water quality? How close is the nearest EPA Toxic Waste Superfund site? Have you looked into the megan’s law database for Colorado or contacted local authorities to check whether registered sex offenders might live nearby?

You can do a lot of research online, but community character is nearly impossible to accurately determine from a website. Yes, there are many resources on the Internet including this blog and a list of links and other resources we’ve collected. But that’s not enough.

Before buying a home, you should invest the time to walk the neighborhood, talk to the neighbors, visit local schools, time your commute to work, and more. This kind of information is extremely valuable and may require several visits to the community. And it’s well worth it if you want to be happy long term with the choice you’re making.

Mistake #7. Not getting a building inspection.

Even if you are an expert carpenter with many years in the trades, we recommend a professional building inspection. In some cases (like established neighborhoods with mature trees between the house and the street which may be prone to root intrusions) we also recommend a sewer inspection with fiber optics/remote cameras. If there are signs of water damage or moisture in the home, bterapiaberles we’ll recommend a mold inspection as well. The upfront costs for inspection can start as low as $250 and it’s cheap peace of mind.

Mistake #6. Overpaying for a property.

In Boulder and surrounding communities, many buyers are from out of state and compared to their home city, our local real estate can look like a tremendous bargain. Often sellers will toss out a high price to gauge the market. This also sometimes happens because the sellers chose a agent based on the highest comparative market analysis, and they’ll need some time to adjust to market reality.

Smart shoppers will ask their agent for a list of compables before viewing homes and for more specific comparables before putting in an offer. Even unrealistic sellers have been known to come back to reality when confronted with well documented comparable sales. What else has sold in the past few months that is similar to this property? What is currently on the market that matches this property’s characteristics?

Only put in an offer after reviewing comparables and knowing the market. This step can save you thousands of dollars. It’s also something a good buyers’ agent should be able to prepare for you.

Mistake #5. Compromising on your property requirements.

We ask our clients to take the time to prepare a list of “must have” features in a home. Based on these criteria and their chosen location, we’ll set clients up with emailed alerts of modified listings and newly listed properties as they come to market. This is the most efficient way to get listings that fit a client’s needs.

Most websites feature property that is days or months old. An MLS driven listing alert system is efficient and, when properly set-up, can save you countless hours cruising the internet.

But browsing the Internet is fun and we’ll sometimes have clients call to setup showings for homes found online which don’t have all their “must haves” features. If a client happens to fall in love and purchase it, it’s likely down the road that the missing “must have” feature will start to bug them.

Just like the jolly guy in the furry red suit. Make a list and check it twice (and then stick with it).

Mistake #4. Not doing your homework on financing.

This mistake can cost your thousands of dollars, cause you to miss on the best properties, and potentially damage your credit rating.

A lot of potential buyers start the process by looking at homes while assuming they can get a loan. Sure, we like window shopping too but it’s helpful to do some financial homework. Start by doing the basic math yourself using widely available online mortgage calculators, For more info please visit these sites:- including the ones we feature on our website (on pages with property’s details). You should also familiarize yourself with some financing basics.

Before you start to setup showings and view properties with an agent, it’s smart to consult with a reputable lender and confirm your financial plans. You’ll find out how much house you can comfortably afford based on currently available loan programs. Importantly, after the initial consultation, good lenders will also be available to provide a prequalification letter matching any offer you might make – a critical element in strengthening an offer.

We always recommend clients check out several lenders and available loans because mortgages are largely commodity products. The right loan for you could be an ARM, a fixed rate mortgage, cross collateralization with another property, or a plain vanilla FRM.

Good lenders can help you find the best loan for your specific situation. A lender with access to th


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