RealEstate.com Offers Advice for Avoiding the Top 10 Most Common Home Buying Mistakes

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Make sure you have the information you need before making a home buying decision. RealEstate.com offers up the top 10 home buying mistakes that you can now avoid.

While buying a house is often the biggest investment most people make, it's also the one on which they're usually least educated and confident. After all, how many consumers do you know who have been through a class on buying a home?

RealEstate.com offers the following insight into the 10 most common home buying mistakes, and advice for avoiding them:

1. Going it alone. Buying a home is a complex process that requires knowledge about everything from real estate values to insurance to legal matters. Create a home buying team that includes professionals in these fields (REALTORS®, attorneys, etc.) as well as family and/or friends whose advice you trust.

2. Buying at first sight. Love at first sight is fine in romance, but not in the practical matter of buying a house. Before you buy, ask yourself how well the home fits your needs and budget. Make a list of needs and wants and compare how well the house meets those. Check out the neighborhood at different times of the day to learn about noise and traffic patterns, and be sure to check the local schools even if you don't have children, as schools can affect the resale value.

3. Not getting pre-qualified and pre-approved. Being pre-qualified gives you a general idea of how much you can afford to borrow. This will save you the hassle of falling in love with homes out of your price range. Being pre-approved means a lender has verified your information and credit rating, and agreed to provide you with a specific amount of money. It also tells sellers that you're serious about buying a home.

4. Overbuying. You may qualify to borrow more, but can you afford to? Analyze your monthly expenses. As a general rule, your total monthly debts, including your mortgage, should not exceed 36 percent of your income before taxes.

5. Misplacing your trust. Take emotion out of the business side of the transaction. No matter how much you like your real estate agent, the sellers, or the inspector, remember that this is a business for all of them. Make sure you're an active and educated participant in the process by doing your own research from various sources. Take the time to understand where and how your support team can best serve your needs.

6. Relying on oral agreements. Get it right and get it in writing. Buying a home is a legal transaction, and written contracts trump oral ones.

7. Skipping the fine print. You need to understand what you're signing before you pick up a pen. Time can be of the essence when it comes to making an offer or buying a home, but don't be rushed when it comes to fully reading all documents. Ask for the documents in advance, make time to read them and ask questions. Get copies of your mortgage papers a few days ahead of your closing date.

8. Forgetting or betting on resale. Think before buying the most expensive home on the block and avoid buying a home that costs 50 percent more than neighboring homes. Your neighbors' lower home values will weaken yours.

9. Making an unconditional offer. Once you've found a great home to buy, you may be so excited to seal the deal that you're tempted to throw caution to the wind. Protect yourself with at least two contingencies in your offer:

  • Mortgage financing - You're pre-approved, but is the house? Before a bank will lend you the money, it will want a formal appraisal of the property to confirm that there is sufficient equity in it to warrant the loan.
  • Inspection - Never buy an existing or new home without a thorough home inspection. Walk through the home with the inspector to learn about any concerns he or she may have.

10. Having buyer's remorse. No place is perfect, and there will always be surprises. Don't miss a great house waiting for the perfect one.

About RealEstate.com

RealEstate.com offers consumers a better way to buy or sell a home through a comprehensive suite of real estate services, tools and content as they progress through their home buying or selling process. This one-stop-shop offers a personalized roadmap, access to more than two million home listings, exclusive Find-a-REALTOR® and Find-a-Builder matching services, free home valuation tools, dedicated customer care representatives available nearly round-the-clock, and valuable rebate offers. Together, these tools allow RealEstate.com to simplify the often-complex real estate transaction and help consumers save time, money, and aggravation.

RealEstate.com is owned and operated by LendingTree, LLC, which is part of IAC Financial Services and Real Estate, an operating business of IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IACI), which also owns or operates LendingTree Loans sm, LendingTree Settlement Services, LLC, GetSmart®, Domania®, and iNest Realty, Inc.

REALTOR® -- A registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.

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ALLISON VAIL
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