Sam's Home Buying Tips

How to Avoid the 10 Biggest Mistakes Buying a New Home

Introduction: Oh my god…it’s time to buy a house!

Whether this is your first or umpteenth time buying a home, don’t panic. Of course it’s natural to be anxious. A house is a place we raise children, make friends, nurture our physical environment and spend valuable time in our lives. Even though the average person buys a home only a few times in their lifetime, it is surprising how many important evaluation factors are ignored. In fact, people are often more rigorous scrutinizing much smaller acquisitions, such as automobiles, electronics or even household appliances. As a result, once the deal has closed, many homes don’t meet expectations.

Unfortunate discoveries that can occur soon after purchase include high utility bills, annoying maintenance requirements, seasonal discomfort, poor indoor air quality (sometimes manifested as allergies and frequent colds) and annoying noises from a variety of internal and external sources. In addition, more significant disasters can be waiting to raise their ugly heads such as water damage, mold, erosion problems, leaky foundations, and cracked fireplace flues. Homeowners often wind up rationalizing these problems as part of home ownership and making necessary adjustments or expensive repairs to avoid the high costs of buying and selling again. However, surprises like these can and should be uncovered before purchase. Maybe you would have made the same home choice, but at lest you go in with your eyes open and better prepared to negotiate a fair price.

There is too much riding on your next home purchase decision not to do it right. It often represents the biggest purchase of a lifetime! However, selecting a new home doesn’t have to be a nerve-racking, high pressure, complicated process. Instead it can be an enjoyable exploration of exciting options and the chance to buy a home that best meets your special needs and budget. “How to Avoid the 10 Biggest Mistakes Buying a New Home” provides a simple approach that has successfully worked for friends, family and clients I’ve advised over the past two decades. It’s designed to help you avoid major home buying pitfalls and target the most important criterion for getting the best possible home for you.

What this guide does not do:

  • Provide extensive discussion: this guide is designed for the home buyer who wants the bottom line without plowing through hundreds of pages of detailed text.
  • Teach how to perform detailed construction, structural, mechanical and electrical inspections. It is recommended appropriate experts be hired where concerns need to be addressed.
  • Teach how to arrange financing, calculate mortgage payments or determine what a home buyer can afford. Financial institutions, simple tables and low-cost computer software are all available for these purposes.
  • Provide how-to instruction on making a real estate transaction. My advice is to do a good job selecting a real-estate agent and attorney and then trust them. That’s what they’re being paid for. If you want the “nuts and bolts”, good Realtors and attorneys are usually excellent explaining this very complex process, or refer to other books and web sites on this subject.
  • Help distinguish between cities and regions to live. There are entire books and web sites devoted to the relative merits of living and working in different parts of the country.