Often people ask us what are the biggest mistakes we see people make when buying or selling real estate. The first, we would have to say, is not being prepared before entering the market. It is important to do your homework in advance. There is endless information available in bookstores and online.
However, don’t over analyze when you are selecting the right investment for you and your family needs. Don’t attempt to second guess what will happen to the market. Always think in terms of location. Buy the best location you can afford. You don’t necessarily need the best house on the block. In fact, often buying a house that needs TLC in a great neighborhood is the best choice.
Don’t overlook the livability of the home. Is the floor plan right for you? Can you change the floor plan to improve upon it? Curb appeal is extremely important. Does the home have curb appeal or can you create it? Make a list of the amenities that are important to you. For instance, do you want a family room, formal dining room, two car garage, large back yard, etc. When this is done prioritize the list.
Always have professional inspections done before finalizing your purchase. Buying property is stressful enough – you don’t need additional, unexpected surprises after you own the home. Be patient, finding the right property usually does not happen overnight. You will know when everything feels right.
Speaking of professional help, make sure beforehand that you are confident and comfortable with your Realtor. You will need to rely on your Realtors’ experience, knowledge of the market, and negotiating skills. Understanding the tax implications of your real estate transaction should also be part of your preparation. You should always verify your calculations with your accounting professional.
The biggest single mistake is not buying at all. If you can afford a home or investment property, but you don’t make the purchase, you will never realize the benefits of ownership. Tax deductions, appreciation, and building equity and are just a few of the advantages of property acquisitions. We’ve never have heard a person say that they are unhappy that they bought their home five or ten years after they purchased it. However you will be sorry tomorrow if you do not buy real estate today.
This article was written for and appears in the San Francisco Examiner.
Eric Ruxton and Larry Aikins are the owners of Terrace Realty Inc. and Terrace Associates Inc., in Redwood City. Terrace has been in business for over 50 years and in addition to being an independent Brokerage Company, also owns and operates rental properties.