A home is one of the largest – and most important – purchases you will ever make in life. Because this is the case it’s only natural that you might, as a first -time buyer, be rather nervous and unsure. And whether you actually want it or not, on the road to homeownership you will recieving lots of advice from those who have gone before you. Not just from your real estate agent but also from family, friends and coworkers.
While some of this advice may be very good – especially that which comes from your agent – some may also be truly terrible.
It’s safe to say those who followed unhelpful advice ended up having some major regrets. A recent NerdWallet homeownership survey found nearly 49% of homeowners said they would do something differently if they were to go through the homebuying process again. That’s a big chunk of people and many of them went on to share that their realization had been that they had followed some bad advice that they probably should not have listened to.
What are some examples of the worst home buying advice we have ever heard given? Here are just a few.
“Buy as Much Home as You Can Afford”
Many people tell first time homebuyers to make their purchase decision based on how much house they can afford right off the bat.
The underlying assumption is we should allocate our spending on housing up to some limit determined by someone else based on what they thought was appropriate. A better version of this advice? “What house works for your lifestyle and situation?”
Very few first time buyers have their life completely set. They often have yet to have a family (or even decide if one is on the cards) and are far from at the top of their career ladder. It’s for this reason that ‘starter homes’ exist. It may seem like an old-fashioned concept, but think of it this way. Would you order pizzas for a party before you know how many people are showing up? Not unless you want to risk ending up with too much or too little and wasting your cash. So, if you wouldn’t do that for a party, why do it for the most expensive thing you’re probably ever going to buy?
“Its Values will Always Increase If You Renovate Your Home”
It’s hard to tell that this can be bad advice as it seems so logical. Make a home look/function better = worth more, a sensible equation on the face of things. However, the simple fact is that renovating or remodelling a home can be a lot trickier than you think and some improvements, while pleasing to you may not thrill potential buyers down the road enough that they would be willing to pay extra for them.
Some examples of riskier remodels?
High End Appliances – You may love those gadegty, high end appliances and a home buyer might too, but it is the rare would be homebuyer who is willing to add to their offer simply based on the fact the home contains a fridge that can make a shopping list for you, however neat that is.
Too Much Carpet – Carpet is warm and cosy and can look lovely, but more and more people are shying away from a fully carpeted home. It can be very high maintenance compared to hard flooring options, tends to have a shorter useful life and as design tastes differ a great deal the expensive Oriental pattern you love may simply look over fussy and garish to others.
High Maintenance Landscapes – Another aspect of homeownership that people have far less time for these days is the maintenance of a complicated landscaping setup. A rose grove may look stunning in the summer, and that uber trendy natural swimming pool would probably look great in your backyard too. But the fact is that you may find you don’t even have the time or patience to deal with it, let alone someone else further down the line.
“Make a Low Ball First, and Then Consider Going Up”
This is quite possibly the worst advice to give any first time homebuyer. Obviously any homebuyer is looking for a deal and they naturally want the best property for the lowest price.
The thing is though that while it is perfectly reasonable to want to get the most for your money, making an offer that is downright insulting can oftentimes mean the end of the deal. Don’t put the deal in jeopardy by making a lowball offer. It could even lead to you paying more in the end, if you even get the chance to make a second offer at all.