Sam's Home Buying Tips

How to Avoid the 10 Biggest Mistakes Buying a New Home

Mistake No.1 – Not Targeting Your Search:

Location, Location, Location

Looking for a place to live can be intimidating when confronted with the enormous range of options and tradeoffs available. Thus, it is critical to focus on a limited number of locations well matched to your most important priorities. Otherwise, you risk the common mistake of going in too many unproductive directions, and being pressured into making a less than optimal decision where burn-out starts to set in.

The first obvious step is to define your price range. This can easily be done by visiting one or more mortgage brokers, your accountant, or on-line financial service sites. However, regional cost factors such as taxes, transportation, private schools, college tuition and insurance can vary significantly and need to be considered.

The next step is to identify the location characteristics most important to you and/or your family’s special needs. The ‘Location Checklist’ in this section helps accomplish this by providing a comprehensive set of criteria that can effectively target your search. Each criterion should be scored from 1 to 5, with ‘1’ representing unimportant and ‘5’ representing highly important. In addition, Fatal Flaw designations (FF) should be made for any criterion that must be fully addressed before a home location could be considered a viable option. For example, if you know that you would only consider a strictly limited set of school districts, schools should be designated with a ‘FF’.

Your scoring should take into account the results of any research or other insight you have gained regarding local attributes. For instance, research may reveal specific locations where homes sell much faster and at higher appreciation. In other cases, research may show higher property value based on regionally important factors such as proximity to mass transit, desirable school district, lower crime rates, or arbitrary perceptions of higher “cache”.

Once you have completed the checklist, it provides an excellent guide for you and your real estate agent to pick locations that will best meet your needs. It’s important to recognize that scoring too many criteria as high priority or fatal flaw will not help you or your agent effectively target your search.