In honor of the unofficial holiday yesterday, we thought we’d take the time to correct some common home buying myths that have been fooling real estate consumers for years.
Here’s a look at four real estate myths that frequently come up with first time buyers or buyers who haven’t been in the market for a while:
1. Working with multiple agents will improve my chances of finding the perfect home.
All agents have access to the same MLS listings in your area, so you are not going to gain access to more houses by working with more people. It is in your best interest to find an agent with a communication style and commitment level that matches yours, and let them do the hard work for you.
Not only is there no sense in working with multiple agents, there is no such thing as the perfect home. Homes come in all shapes and sizes and conditions and prices, but it is extremely likely that none will have the exact combination of features you’re looking for on the street you want at the price you like.
The thing to do is to prioritize your home wish list, so your dedicated real estate agent can find the homes that are the best fit for your needs… and that will most likely transform into your dream home after you move in.
2. If I see a house I like, I should call the number on the bottom of the yard sign.
The agent listed on the yard sign is the one who represents the seller, so they are being paid to act in the seller’s best interest. That is great and exactly as it should be, but it doesn’t mean that they will act in your best interest.
It is best to call the agent you are already working with and ask them to set up a time to view the house. This is yet another reason why it is good to establish a relationship with a dedicated buyer’s agent.
3. My first offer should be a lowball offer.
Of course it makes sense to offer a lower price than you ultimately planned to pay and negotiate your way up, but there are times when this strategy can backfire. In a hot market, a home may have multiple offers and the seller might move yours to the bottom of the pile without ever responding. Even if a property has been on the market for a while, an offer that is too low could offend an already-frustrated seller and prevent them from doing business with you. Or if they do decide to work with you, ill feelings caused by your initial offer could make negotiations even trickier.
The best thing to do is ask your real estate agent for advice and then make an offer that you are comfortable with. If you really want the house, this might not be the time to press your luck. If, on the other hand, this is just one of several you’re considering and you’re not entirely set on it, it might be worth the risk.
4. If a house appraises well, I don’t need a home
Home inspections and home appraisals are two entirely different things. A home appraisal is an estimate of the property’s value that is performed to safeguard the lender. A home inspection is an assessment of the condition of the home done to educate the buyer.
An appraiser notes the value, whereas an inspector notes the condition. Even if the home you make an offer on appraises for the sale price, there could still be broken or unsafe elements. In some instances, you can negotiate with the sellers to have these items fixed. This is just one way a home inspection comes in handy.