For most people, buying or selling a home is one of the most important and highest value purchases they will make, and potentially the most challenging. Here are some major home buying and selling mistakes that can lead to an unsatisfying experience or even serious complications, courtesy of The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO).
1. Allowing emotions to overtake common sense. When you fall in love with a property it can be hard to walk away. Know your budget. Don’t forgo a home inspection to win a bidding war.
2. Not making your expectations clear with your real estate professional. It’s important that you and your representative have a mutual understanding about what you’re looking for, and what services the brokerage will be responsible for.
3. Failing to read and understand forms and contracts. It can be tempting to speed the process along by signing forms that you haven’t read. But taking the time to understand what you’re signing can avoid a lot of problems later on.
4. Assuming everything is included with the property. For example, the seller may want to take the dishwasher with them to their new home, and the furnace might be under a rental contract that you’ll be required to take over.
5. Forgetting about what’s within the walls. Granite countertops and new hardwood floors are appealing, but the insulation, wiring and plumbing are just as important when you’re evaluating a property.
6. Forgetting about what’s outside the walls. When you buy a house you’re also buying a place in a community. Visit the neighbourhood at different times of the day to see if it fits your lifestyle. Talk to the neighbours about the community and the locations of various amenities.
7. Not doing your research. If you’re concerned about buying a home with a troubled past, a simple Internet search for the address can go a long way. This is also something you can ask the neighbours about.
8. Making verbal agreements. Verbal agreements aren’t a problem, until they’re a problem. Putting everything in writing forces both parties to be clear about their expectations and provides a record that can prevent disputes later on.
9. Underestimating closing costs. From land transfer taxes to title insurance to a home inspection, the costs of a real estate transaction can add up quickly. Take the time to include estimates and other expenses in the full cost of buying or selling a property.