Today, over 80 percent of home buyers search for a home online, according to the 2020 National Association of Realtors Home Buyers and Sellers Trends Report. More information is available than ever before, including video, 3-D floor plans, tax information, sales history, school districts, permits pulled, etc.
One would think that these factors have made the home buying process easier to navigate, more transparent. But in fact, many buyers, including first-timers, are confused by how the process really works, and the roles and responsibilities of the agents, attorneys, lenders, and other professionals who support the transaction.
Here Are 5 Misconceptions That Many First-Time Buyers Believe
If I Buy a Home for Less Than the List Price, Then I Got a Deal
It depends! Was the property listed for $500,000 and you paid $475,000? That's great, but what if the exact same home next door sold for $450,000 thirty days prior? You paid $25,000 less than the list price, but $25,000 more than your neighbor.
The Home I Buy This Year Will Be Worth More Next Year
Nothing is a sure thing! Home valuations have seen significant appreciation in the last 10 years, but the four-year span between 2008 and 2012 is a different story entirely.
The Lender Will Tell Me How Much I Can Spend
True, but should you spend that much? Lenders examine your income, assets, debt, credit history, and as a result, provide you with a pre-approval amount based on those factors. BUT, they’ll tell you nothing about whether you should spend that money or whether spending that amount will leave you so cash poor that you can’t pay for repairs, maintenance, or other unexpected non-housing-related bills.
I Know Exactly How Much It Will Cost to Live in My New Home
Doubtful. First-time buyers often underestimate the costs of repairs and maintenance, especially if they’re buying a single-family home. Factors that many folks fail to consider: lawn and garden care, snow removal, driveway maintenance, replacing air filters, appliance failure, or god forbid mechanical system malfunction.
Buying Something Online Is the Same as Seeing It in Person
Nope! Nothing replaces seeing a home in person. Modern real estate tools are incredible - 3-D matterport tours, video, google street view, and the like enhance your ability to filter through homes from the comfort of your couch. But it is never a good idea to make a decision to buy a home without seeing it in person first.