OCTOBER 9, 2017 / JOHN SPIDALIERE

Often unrealistic or overly critical, first-time home buyers can be trying to work with.

I’m sorry to say that. I enjoy the enthusiasm of many first-time home buyers as they prepare to make one of the most important financial decision of their lives. Their excitement can be contagious and their reliance on me as their agent to guide them through the process feels good.

Yet, too often, first-time home buyers can be unprepared, too emotional, and overly nit-picky. Lately, I have been hearing buyers talk about DIY television programs that make home buying look effortless. Everything on those shows wraps up nice and tidy in a half hour, giving viewers false expectation.

In the real world, want-to-be buyers often don’t know what to expect in the home buying process.  A seasoned Realtor is the best defense against rookie mistakes.

Here are five mistakes that first-time home buyers should avoid:

  1. Knowing what one can afford.

A Realtor should not allow you to start the home search without knowing what you can afford. Fifteen minutes with a mortgage specialist takes the guesswork out of the process by telling a potential buyer how much they can afford.

If your Realtor hasn’t directed you toward a mortgage specialist before you begin searching, they are not giving you good advice.

  1. Overlooking extra costs.

The mortgage isn’t the only cost when purchasing a home. Blowing all the money one has because he or she can afford a more expensive house is unwise. Remember to figure in the cost of making a house a home.

  1. Getting too emotional and panicking.

Emotions are unavoidable when buying a house. It is a big decision, but relying on one’s heart or the “gut” can lead to mistakes. It is a financial decision, so use the brain God gave you. Do the numbers work? Is the neighborhood right for you and your family? What about resale value?

  1. Being too critical.

Buyers often get caught in the nit-picking of small items without seeing the big picture. When looking at a property, consider the bones of the house and remember that minor details, like wallpaper and old carpeting, can be changed.

  1. Not getting a home inspection.

For your protection, as the slogan goes, get a home inspection. A home inspector can shine a light on potentially expensive and possibly dangerous flaws in the home. Home inspections can be expensive, but $400 – the average cost of an inspection — can save money in the long run.

  1. Picking the wrong agent.

A good Realtor helps to alleviate stress by guiding their client through the process. I make every client promise to speak to me when their emotions get the better of them.

More than once, I have been horrified by the incompetence of some real estate agents that allow first-time home buyers result to weed through an inspection report without any guidance or stand by while they make unreasonable demands of a seller. The agents allowed emotion to control their client’s and the result often resulted in a deal falling apart.

Avoid this mistake by picking an agent that knows the home buying process. Experience counts.

John Spidaliere is a Realtor with Puffer Morris Real Estate, the “Experts at Living Locally.” He works with buyers and sellers alike. He can be reached at 717-425-9892 or email him at john@puffermorris.com.