Home-Buying Fears and How to Face Them

Hank Bailey
Hank Bailey
Published on June 12, 2019

Buying a home can be an intimidating thing. This type of purchase involves a long term commitment both financially and ongoing maintenance. Home buyers often are wary that they will purchase the wrong house and be stuck with an investment that becomes a money pit. However, of the issues most home buyers often face, there’s plenty that can be done to alleviate the all too common fears you might experience when purchasing your new home.

Structural Issues 

One common concern in real estate is a cracked foundation, leaky roof, or dry rot. With issues like these, a good inspector will be able to point all of this out for you and then you can assess the problem as necessary. An inspector is very useful in that he or she is hired to point out every issue to the buyer. So ask plenty of questions as its their job to answer them! When you do ask the inspector questions ask for an explanation on this type of issue and when the repair or replacement must be taken care of. Finally if and potentially when an issue arises you should go back to the seller and ask if they will address any repair concerns you might have prior to closing.

Extra Tip related to Inspections

Home inspections are like going to the ER when you have a physical malady. The ER doctor is trained in all things, but is not a specialist normally in any one area of medicine. In the same way, a home inspection is very generic. Many times you have to diagnose problems flagged in a home inspection further with licensed contractors to focus on HVAC, plumbing, electrical, roofing, and structural to make sure your fears are not heightened by “what could be,” but rather you have gone deeper to make sure whether or not those red flags the inspector might have initialed called out are worth your concern or not.

Your Earnest Money lost?

Another fear buyers often have is the fact that the earnest money may sometimes be forfeit if they back away from the deal. However, remember that it is nearly impossible for the earnest money to be lost. If due diligence is completed, loan and appraisal contingencies are completed, then yes you are pretty much locked in at that point related to your earnest money.  A good agent though will make sure they work closely with their clients to mark timeframes so that you know when each contingency has expired or been satisfied. If you find that you are in negotiations around the expiration date of one of your contingencies, make sure to extend the contingency date so that you will stay protected with your contract.

My Agent Doesn’t Have My Best Interests In Mind

Another concern some buyers have is that their agent does not consider their best interests at heart. This is not normally the case. Good agents are almost always on the prowl and keeping an eye on the market with your best interests in mind. If you are working with a REALTOR, not just a real estate agent, did you know that we have a Code of Ethics? Article 1 states, “When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, REALTORS® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client. This obligation to the client is primary, but it does not relieve REALTORS® of their obligation to treat all parties honestly. When serving a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant or other party in a non-agency capacity, REALTORS® remain obligated to treat all parties honestly.”

If you have doubts and feel that your agent is not on the same page, simply change agents and go with the one you feel comfortable with. Both you and your agent should have a mutual commitment to one another and you should sit down before you start the process and speak with the agent you choose in the same way you would in a job interview.

We Wont Find The Right House In Time

Often buyers are concerned that they will not find the right house soon enough. However a purchase involving thousands and thousands of dollars should not be rushed. If you have some sort of time constraint make sure you have a backup plan. If a school application deadline or expiring lease is a factor, be sure that you have a Plan B if things do not go according to plan A. This will take the pressure off.  Also, make sure that your buyer’s agent knows what your timeline is and how fast you need to close on a home!

Purchasing a new home is not only expensive but also complicated. You never want to rush into making a decision, as a mistake can hurt you in the long rung, so be thorough.

Why do we keeping missing out on homes?

I hear this on occasion.  Depending on the time of year, your price range, and location, it is not uncommon to see homes moving in hours, not days and weeks.  Many buyers are not comfortable initially dealing with such a hectic pace.  I’ve seen homes recently, for example, in the sub-$200,000 range where if you didn’t see them the first day they hit the market, you might not have a chance!  So as a buyer, your schedule and how quickly you can go see those homes will improve your odds of being able to acquire that property you have your eyes on!

Also, being pre-qualified and having your finances in order will help open the doors to more opportunities! This sometimes is more complex than you might think. For example, if you’re looking at condos both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have some pretty tight qualifications on condominium complexes based upon the percentage of ‘non-owner occupants’ to the financials of the association that they have to consider.  At times like this I find that going back to the lender and providing more details regarding the make up of that complex, including what the HOA fees are monthly and how they impact the buyer’s debt to income ratios, are needed so that we don’t get a contract the lender can’t get final approval on.

This can take a little more time to get approval on the property as well, which cash buyers for example don’t have to worry over.  It can delay the ability to feel secure enough to make an offer until the lender reviews and provides feedback that the complex may meet lending guidelines.

Finally, and forgive me if this sounds harsh to my fellow agents, but you may be ‘late to the party’ if you are working with an agent who is inexperienced as a buyer’s agent. As an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®), I’m aghast at the inexperience I see out there today from other real estate agents.

Just in the past 24 hours alone, I’ve had a call from one agent who left a voicemail wanting to show what she thought was one of my listings. I had another call from a different agent asking about new construction possibilities in another neighborhood and how I can help her “help her buyer.”  The really sad thing there is that both agents are missing out on homes for their buyers because I’m not the listing agent on either listing they had phoned me about!

These agents are looking at what we call in the industry IDX listing pages that are on my website.  IDX stands for Internet Data Exchange. Today any and every listing may be found on any agent or broker’s website.

See, these two agents weren’t looking at what real estate agents should always use to cross reference listing availability and that is the MLS, or multiple listing service. The MLS is the source for all listing data.  To take a random listing from another agent’s website, or Zillow for that matter, and start making calls when you don’t even know if you are calling the right individual who represents that home as an agent is pretty sad.

If you’re looking at houses with one of these agents, yes, you are most likely spinning wheels and I’m sure you are a bit frustrated with missed opportunities. Incidentally, the house the first agent called me about was in multiple offers the day before when she left me a first voicemail.  That was the cut off to be able to submit highest and best offers on that home. She caused her buyer to be a day late, because she didn’t do like I did and take two minutes to look up notes and details in the MLS on this home.

Please always remember, whenever you have a concern or fear about a home or the process and anyone involved in the purchase, don’t hesitate to speak up and go with your gut instinct. Avoid rushing and allow yourself to think things through, but make sure the agent representing you is experienced and responsive to you!

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