A new year comes with a sense of freshness. Once that calendar flips from what was to what is, it’s like there’s a clean slate on which you can write a new story.
No one wants to make the same mistakes from the previous year, whether it’s getting back together with the ex whom you know isn’t good for you, sticking with the same job that brought you so much misery … or doing the same things previous home buyers have done to cost themselves time and money.
Here are five of the most common mistakes The Allen Brake Team saw home buyers make in 2021 and what you can do to avoid them in 2022.
1. Waiting for ‘The Perfect Home’
“Perfect is the enemy of good.” So says 18th century writer and philosopher Voltaire … and 21st century real estate experts The Allen Brake Team. It’s understandable to want all your hopes and dreams to come true in the home you’re purchasing. For the amount of money you’re committing to spend over the next 30 years, you definitely should find a place that works for you and your family.
But the reality is, the perfect home doesn’t exist, especially in a market in which there are far fewer homes for sale than there are buyers ready to make a purchase. That’s precisely the kind of market that existed in 2021 and continues to exist in 2022.
The solution: By all means, keep your ideas for a perfect home in mind when you’re searching for a place to live. But keep an open mind. If your perfect home ends up costing more than you wanted to pay because of a bidding war with others who thought it to be perfect too, well, then it really wasn’t so perfect, right? Give a second look to those homes that might not have everything you want or be 15 minutes further away from your job than you’d like. Your willingness to invest in some cosmetic changes over the years could turn your “good” home into a “great” home.
2. Waiting to find a mortgage
Trust us. We get it: Shopping for a home can be fun. That’s why we do what we do. Ya know what’s not fun to most people? Talking about money and interest rates and 30-year commitments.
The reality is, though, if you don’t find a mortgage before you start looking for a home, there’s a good chance the place you want to make yours won’t be available by the time your loan paperwork is processed. In fact, many agents won’t even show you homes until you’re pre-approved for a mortgage. Even if they do and you work with them to find your dream home, you won’t be able to submit a competitive offer because you have no way to prove you have the funds to actually complete the deal.
The solution: Call the bank. Today. The Allen Brake Team’s preferred lender, Gershman Mortgage, remains our partner of choice in 2022 for one simple reason: They are excellent at what they do. Jennifer Smerek and her team will outline the entire experience for you and show you exactly how large of a loan you qualify for so you can set a reasonable budget. Jennifer can be reached at (314) 889-0667 or (314) 608-7269 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Trying the do-it-yourself approach
There’s a reason you wouldn’t try to perform an appendectomy on yourself after watching a few YouTube videos posted by a trained professional. Yet that’s what we saw too many people do in 2021 when it came to real estate – believe the Zillow-induced hype that buying or selling a home is so easy that anyone can do it for themselves.
While it’s true that many people can handle a real estate transaction, that doesn’t mean anyone but an experienced real estate professional should. Buying or selling a home is a complicated financial transaction in which easy-to-make errors can open you up to legal problems and cost you tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a majority of your adult life.
The solution: The full-time Realtors exclusive to The Allen Brake Team have the experience and expertise to help you move calmly and confidently through the entire home buying experience. Collectively, we’ve seen it all and done it all, and the reason we exist is to help home buyers like you not make the same mistakes other Realtors or do-it-yourselfers have made.
If you want to rely on the internet to start your search, that’s great. We recommend our website, allenbrake.com, over data-collectors like Zillow because, among other reasons, we will never sell your information to outsiders. Then, when you find some properties you’d like to pursue, fill out the contact form at allenbrake.com/connect, call us at (314) 375-3030 or email us at email@example.com so we can start you down the road of your own Calm & Confident Home Sales Experience.
4. Thinking the sellers are going to make all fixes
Of all the deals we saw fall through in the region in 2021, perhaps the most common reason was because the home buyers and home sellers couldn’t come to an agreement on who was going to pay for the repairs on the imperfections uncovered in the home inspection.
Traditionally, sellers have been on the hook for those repairs. But, again, we’re not talking about traditional times. We’re talking about a time in which there are seemingly five buyers for every seller. Time and again we saw a potential buyer push the seller to pay for repairs big and small, only for the seller to walk away and go to the next buyer in line, a buyer who just might be willing to complete the transaction without an inspection.
That might not be fair. But it is the reality as we start 2022.
The solution: Keep your expectations reasonable. Harkening back to the first of our five mistakes, of course we understand that you’d like the home you’re purchasing to be perfect when you close. But in a highly competitive market in which other buyers might be willing to pay to fix the more minor issues after they take ownership, you need to be realistic. Inspections are meant to shine a spotlight on major issues that should make you think twice about moving forward if they aren’t addressed. Less important issues might not end up being issues at all in the long run if your offer is the one that actually leads to a completed transaction and a new, happy home for you and your family.
5. Believing building is an easy alternative
We saw more than a few potential home buyers leave the existing-home market in 2021, frustrated with bidding wars and higher prices, to pursue building a new home. Most of them soon came back.
We have absolutely nothing against building a new home. In fact, we help people with new-home purchases all the time. The reality is, though, it doesn’t solve many of the frustrations that can exist with the purchase of an existing home – and it can create several new ones.
If you and your significant other aren’t extremely patient and understanding people, think twice about building a new home right now. Many building materials are back-ordered because of the dreaded supply-chain issues, and prices are at or near all-time highs. Further, the labor shortage plaguing many businesses is hitting the construction industry hard, too. That means the stuff to build your home and the people with the know-how to build it just aren’t there.
And that’s on top of the traditional warnings we would give people looking to build. Chief among those are the sometimes unexpected costs for things such as improvements for electricity, septic systems or other infrastructure issues.
The solution: Do your homework – a lot of homework – first. Research all the costs associated with building a new home where you’d like to live. The Allen Brake Team has deep experience and vast expertise in this area and can help connect you to the right professionals who will look at the property you’re considering and tell you whether what you want to build is right for that particular parcel. Together, we’ll be able to paint a complete picture of what your costs might be from the time you purchase the land to the day you take the keys and walk through the threshold of your brand new home.
The Allen Brake Team