If it's your first time buying or selling real estate, you don't know what you don't know. There are tons of potential pitfalls and challenges along the way that it's hard to anticipate when you don't know what to expect. But luckily for you, most of the missteps taken by first time buyers and sellers are pretty universal, which means you can learn from their mistakes and avoid falling into the same traps. Here are four common real estate mistakes to avoid the first time you buy or sell a home:
The price of a home - whether you're buying or selling - is one of the most important components of a real estate transaction. But there's a lot more that goes into pricing than what meets the eye. Pricing a home is a kind of science. There are so many factors that come into play - time of year, current market conditions, how quickly homes are selling the neighborhood, the current value of the home. The real estate agent takes all of those factors into consideration when coming up with the right price for a home. Without a real estate background, it's impossible for you to understand all of those conditions and how they affect the price of a home. If you're selling, you're likely to think your home should sell for a higher price because of the value it holds for you. If you're buying, you're likely to think a property should sell for less because that means a better deal on your end. But ignoring your real estate agent's pricing advice because you think you know what the price of a property should be is a mistake. As a seller, you'll end up overpricing your house (which will leave it sitting on the market). As a buyer, you'll end up lowballing your offer (and losing the house in the process). The first time you're buying or selling a home, it's your best bet to leave the pricing to the experts. Your real estate agent will always work to get you the best deal - and keep you from pricing yourself out of the deal you want.
Another mistake first time buyers and sellers make is being too rigid when it comes to negotiations. Most real estate transactions require a bit of compromise. As a seller, you might need to give in on some of your buyer's demands and as a buyer, you might need to work with the sellers a bit in order to close the deal. It's just the way real estate works. And if you're not willing to give an inch, the deal can very quickly go south. Now, just to be clear: you should never compromise TOO much. Don't compromise on the things that are important to you. But if a minor repair is all that's standing between you and closing your real estate deal, giving in can be much easier than walking away.
If there's a mistake that nearly all first time home buyers make during their home search, it's not thinking outside of the box. Most first time buyers have a very specific idea of what they're looking for in a home. And while it's fine to know what you want, refusing to look at properties that don't check off every single item on your wish list is a major mistake - a mistake that can keep you from finding a home you're in love with. If you want to find a home you love, it pays to get creative and see as many properties as possible. Have certain non-negotiables (like a specific number of bedrooms or a designated outdoor space) but allow for some wiggle room on everything else. You'll end up seeing more properties, and who knows? You might fall in love with a house that's totally different from what you thought you wanted - a house you would never have seen if you didn't think outside of the box.
Perhaps the biggest mistake you can make the first time you buy or sell a home is trying to do everything on your own. Buying or selling a home is not only hard work, but it requires a certain level of knowledge and expertise. You need to know where to look for hot properties, how to market to buyers, how to negotiate, how to file all the paperwork… if you've never bought or sold a home, it can be completely overwhelming. Which is why you need a real estate agent to walk you through the process. When you work with a great real estate agent, they make the experience of buying or selling a home easier, faster, and more profitable. Trying to do everything on your own is a mistake. But hiring a real estate agent can quickly rectify that. Buying or selling your first home can be overwhelming. But now that you know the most common mistakes to avoid, you're well on your way to a stress-free first time buyer or seller experience.