Home buyers get a lot of advice from friends and family–some good, some bad. A lot of myths can pop up and negatively guide their home purchasing experience. Experienced real estate agents like those at Harcourts The Garner Group Real Estate in Bend, Oregon make sure their clients don’t fall for one of these common buying falsehoods.
The National Assn. of Realtors lists five common myths that deal with the home buying process.
1. The only upfront cost is the down payment. Buyers need to be prepared for several expenses–everything from fees, taxes, costs for inspections, credit reports, insurance, and others. Closing costs can be anywhere from 3% to 6% of the purchase price. Those costs can fluctuate greatly depending on the state you live in too.
2. Just looking for a house casually is not a big deal. Some people may want to just start looking at homes to get a feel for the area, before they even sit down with a Realtor. But they could be setting themselves up for major heartbreak. “A buyer might be viewing homes that are in a higher or lower price range than what they are qualified for,” an Illinois broker told Realtor.com. Home shoppers–even at the earliest stages–should get pre-approved for a mortgage so they know their budget from the get-go and don’t waste time looking at homes that are out of their price range.
3. You must have a 20% down payment. A 20% down payment will help a buyer avoid paying private mortgage insurance. But 20% down isn’t required. Many lenders will still qualify a buyer for home loans with 10% or 5% down. Some buyers can even qualify for only 3.5% down with a Federal Housing Administration loan. There are many options for down payment assistance that lenders can explore with a buyer who has a limited amount to put down. Work with a local lender to fine tune this information.
4. Schools shouldn’t matter if you don’t have kids. “The neighborhood you choose matters–both now and later when you might consider selling,” notes the Realtor.com article. “Even if you don’t have children, good schools are a sign of a good neighborhood.” Buyers should explore all factors with their Realtor on items that could influence the appreciation and desirability of their home so they don’t run into trouble later on one day when they try to sell.
5. You don’t need a home inspection. When the housing market is extremely competitive, some home shoppers may be willing to waive the home inspection in order to get the home they want. “But beware: sellers are banking on your skipping this crucial step,” the Realtor.com article declares. “It means you’ll get the home as is, including any and all problems that come with it. And sometimes those problems aren’t exactly visible.”
Editor’s note: Articles such as this one are geared for a national audience. They provide a valuable service by giving readers food for thought. There is no “one size fits all” answer to real estate questions–we recommend strongly that prospective buyers rely on local Realtors and lenders for specific answers to real estate questions.