Every house hunt begins with a dream, which can easily escalate into pure fantasy. Home buyers, especially first-time buyers, often have the idea of ​​buying the perfect home, in a nice neighborhood, at a great price.

All of this might have been achievable – hopefully – in the past. But in today’s seller’s market, once buyers don’t just look at listings to make a real offer, things can get real very quickly.

As a real estate agent, I see this awakening regularly. My colleagues too.

Pierre Cantine, a real estate agent in the Catskills where I live, says many of his clients want “a house with seclusion, view and water,” for a budget of around $ 300,000.

“In this market, $ 300,000 will get you a hammock, just the hammock,” he says. “Do you want a hammock for two?” It’s 400,000!

All kidding aside, we’re not here to deter you from looking for a home, and we’re certainly not looking to rush you into #real estate goals. We just want to help homebuyers be successful by pointing out some exaggerated expectations that we constantly see in our work.

Here are some home buying dreams that might require a reality check today.

1. Your dream home will have everything you want

With historically low inventory, the so-called Perfect House – if and when it hits the market – has so many buyers lined up that, even if it started out at a “good price,” it will most likely get into a ditching war. auction. So that means it won’t be perfect after all, does it?

Being open-minded is the key: It’s understandable if you want to avoid a bowel renovation or a long commute to work, but a willingness to make cosmetic changes or even drive 10 minutes farther than planned will help your business considerably. cause.

2. It’s time to find a mortgage after finding the house

While finding housing can be fun, finding a mortgage is more of a chore. However, if you save the funding stage until after You’ve found the perfect home, there’s no way the home will still be available by the time your loan paperwork is completed.

“Your first call, even thinking of maybe the purchase should be your bank ”, says Haden riggs, a Keller Williams agent and crew chief in Tyler, TX. “They will align everything and put you in the best position to buy.”

There are many important reasons why you should get pre-approved for your mortgage before you make your first viewing appointment. First, it gives you a clue: You might qualify for a larger loan than you thought, or in some cases, less. Additionally, due to COVID-19, many markets have forced buyers’ financials to schedule a presentation – and this trend is expected to continue, as it helps sellers separate serious buyers from serious buyers.

“If an agent shows you properties without prior approval, they’re probably not the best agent,” explains Riggs.

And what if all you do is shop window and then find a house that checks all of your boxes and you want to make an offer immediately? You cannot submit a competitive offer without your proof of funds.

Because interest rates are so low right now, even cash buyers should consider getting prequalified just in case they fall in love with a home that is over their cash budget. It’s so easy to call your banker and get one on the phone in under an hour.

3. You can manage the home buying process yourself

Thanks to the Internet, you can do some preliminary research without a real estate agent, and it’s a great way to learn about the market you are researching. But beware: nothing replaces the training, advice and experience of an agent.

The point is that a local real estate agent can more accurately state what constitutes a “good deal” and can speak about factors such as location with much more confidence than a home buyer. Realtors also have access to crucial notes shared on the Multiple Listing Service, including questions to know such as “This property is located in a floodplain” or “The price reflects that the house is in need of a new roof “.

4. The seller will resolve any issues that arise during the home inspection.

Traditionally, a seller who is proud of their home will be more inclined to solve most problems. But in a sellers market – which is still most of the country today – not so much, especially when sellers have backup offers and buyers are willing to forgo inspection altogether.

So be realistic. If there are major structural issues, evidence of radon or mold, or serious plumbing issues, you may be able to negotiate the price, but not always.

Rest assured: while an inspection is meant to shed light on any actual or potential maintenance issues and faults, many of the smaller “flags” will likely be forgotten once you move in. Expecting a seller in a competitive market to take care of every item line is an illusion that could cost you home.

5. The asking price is probably what you will pay

The prevalence of bidding wars in recent years has resulted in a reverse pricing strategy that can be frustrating for real estate agents and buyers.

In order to maximize interest in a property, many seller’s agents have used a “bargain” starting price in anticipation of a bidding war that drives up the price.

In some markets, it climbs manner up. In high demand areas across the country, $ 100,000 to $ 200,000 more than the list price is not unusual. If the cost of a spacious, beautifully renovated home in a fantastic location sounds too good to be true, chances are it is an illusion.

6. Can’t find the right home? It’s easy to build one instead

The real estate market is a challenge for home buyers in the United States. Many real estate agents view clients’ interest in buying land with the belief that building a home from scratch will somehow be less painful than going through listings and surviving auction wars. It’s a beautiful fantasy, but be sure to do your homework.

“If you have all the time in the world and the patience of a Tibetan monk, the construction is for you,” says Riggs.

But beware: many building materials are out of stock due to supply chain disruptions and at unprecedented prices. There is a general labor shortage in much of the United States Plus, depending on the plot, you will need to hire professionals to perform tests to determine if you can build in the field, and you may need to hire professionals. -be adding infrastructure for electricity and septic systems, to begin with. The costs can be astronomical and the process can take several months. Here is more information on the time it takes to build a house.

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