Looking at homes for sale in Lafayette, CA? Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a homeowner looking to upgrade to a larger home, avoiding typical buyer missteps will help you get the most out of the experience and find a home you love at a price you can live with. Here are seven mistakes to watch out for when you’re ready to start the buying process.
1. Not working with a local realtor
Think you can save a little money by looking for Lafayette homes on your own? Some homebuyers mistakenly believe that working with an agent will cost them more money. What they don’t realize is that realtors make their money from the sellers, not the buyers. A realtor can save you thousands of dollars, as well as your valuable time and energy, by helping to craft the winning offer and by knowing which contingencies to ask for. If you attempt to buy a home without having your own agent, you will be working exclusively with the seller’s agent, whose job is to get the most money out of the house. By hiring your agent, you will have a professional in your corner who can guide you through the entire home buying process.
2. Not getting preapproved for a mortgage
If you aren’t fully prepared to make an offer on a home in this competitive market, you could easily lose the property to another buyer who has already been preapproved for a mortgage. You must talk to a mortgage lender and receive a letter of preapproval before you begin seriously looking at Lafayette homes. A preapproval letter will tell both you and the seller what you are qualified to borrow, and it will show the seller that you are serious about buying their home. In this type of market, some sellers will not consider an offer from a buyer who has not been preapproved for a loan.
3. Buying a house you can’t afford
It’s easy to get carried away when looking at homes for sale in Lafayette. Pair that with the fact that many buyers get preapproved for loans that are larger than they can afford, and you have a recipe for disaster. To prevent this, figure out what monthly payment is within your means instead of just looking at the total loan amount. Examine your monthly expenses and add additional expenses you’ll need to pay once you move into your new home. Leave yourself a little breathing room for unexpected costs and emergencies. Be honest with your realtor and lender about what you can afford, and keep a level head when making an offer.
4. Not researching the neighborhood
Falling in love with a home can be powerful. It can also cause you to zero in on the house itself and forget to look at other crucial items of importance, such as where the home is located. If you’ve already settled on looking at Lafayette homes, educate yourself on the various neighborhoods within the city and how they differ. When you find a home you love, ask yourself if it’s close to amenities, like schools, grocery stores, and major highways. Spend some time in the neighborhood talking to those who live there and get a feel for whether you would be comfortable among them. Remember, you can still be unhappy even in the ideal home if it’s in a neighborhood you hate.
5. Waiting for perfection
It’s tempting to wait for the ideal home to come along before making an offer. While this may be a possibility during a buyer’s market when there is abundant inventory to choose from, it becomes much more difficult in a competitive market like the one we are currently experiencing. Before you look at homes for sale in Lafayette, make a list of your must-haves as well as a wishlist. Your musts might include a certain number of bedrooms or a location in the right school district. Your wishlist could have amenities, such as a screened-in patio or a chef’s kitchen. Prioritizing your needs will prevent you from putting off homeownership for months while you hold out for that perfect property to hit the market.
6. Not getting several mortgage quotes
Not all mortgage companies are the same. You may be able to save money on fees and closing costs when you work with one company over another. It pays to shop around to get the best mortgage lender for your home loan. If you apply for several mortgages within 45 days, it will only count as one credit inquiry on your credit report, and you could end up saving thousands of dollars.
There’s no better time than now to search for houses for sale in Lafayette to improve your lifestyle and financial wellness. If you’re ready to move forward with your home buying journey, reach out to a professional local real estate agent like Paddy Kehoe for assistance.