Lancaster County PA Realty Check: Nine Deadly Mistakes to Avoid When Purchasing Your Next Home

Nine Deadly Mistakes to Avoid When Purchasing Your Next Home

Here are nine mistakes that can cost you time, money and stress!

1)  Purchasing contingent before your own home is listed or sold.  Contingency contracts often don't settle.  This will cause you undue stress and may lead you to take a lower offer on your property as an act of desperation.  Additionally, the seller will be free to shop other offers and call for your release, but you will be tied to one property.

2)  Failure to plan.  What if you found the perfect home at the perfect price the first time you looked, and while you were thinking it over, someone else bought it?  The smart buyers know what to do BEFORE they look.  They have determined their financial limitations and comfort zone.  Even if you have bought a home in the past few years, there have been many changes in your available options.  If you have not had a current explanation, get one before you proceed.

3)  Trying to purchase on your own.  The contract that the Realtor(R) uses is many pages long and was wtitten for your protection.  There is no substitute, and these contracts are not available to the public.  Only Realtors can gain you access to your maximum selection of homes.  A Buyers' Agent is paid by the seller on your behalf, and has your best interests at heart.  There is a misconception that you can get a better deal through the listing agent.  This is not true.  The listing agent's job is to get the best price and terms for the seller.  Even the sharpest investors use Buyers' Agents for their best possible bargaining positions.  The smartest plan is to choose a true professional with references and a proven track record.  Allow your Realtor to walk you through the process step by step, and the results will save you time, effort and money.

4)  Shopping new construction without a real estate agent.  The fact is that there is no reason not to take you Realtor with you.  The new construction company will happily pay them, and the experienced agent will provide you with enlightened insight on the construction quality.  Should you fail to take your agent with you the first time you visit, or not allow your agent to register you before you first talk to the builder or developer, there is no discount to you, and the builder may refuse to pay your agent!  The obvious result is a lack of agent enthusiasm due to your lack of loyalty to them.  If you need to sell your home in order to purchase new construction, the fee your agent will receive from the builder will be a great motivation to make sure your present home gets sold quickly.  If you do not have an agent, get one first!

5)  Choosing the wrong lender.   Beware of lenders who offer seemingly extremely low rates.  There are undisclosed junk fees and many other deceptions.  Published rates?  They are obsolete before they're published, and often inaccurate.  The truth is that not all lenders are created equal, and it is impossible for you to judge the good from the bad without experience of their policies and track records. Only the best real estate agents with your best interests at heart will bother to determine the difference.

6)   Picture hunting.  Probably the largest time waster for buyers.  Ads, including those on the internet,  are generally slanted to generate a phone call to the company and gain buyer control.  Very seldom (less than 5% of the time) do buyers even remotely like the house once they see it.  The truth is that many properties do not get advertised.  Although the internet has become a more important resource each year, the best way to find a property in the long run is to use a Realtor's resources to see and evaluate the best properties in person.  If you say you are just looking, you are really just wasting time.

7)  Choosing the wrong Realtor.   The real estate industry is too easy to get into, and very hard to survive in.  The industry is full of inexperienced and incompetent agents.  Only a few truly see your lifetime value and are concerned with you satisfaction beyond the immediate transaction.  These agents inherently know what they are doing, and will require you to undergo a thorough buyer interview and pre-qualification.  They will make scheduled appointments to tour you and will preview many properties to save you time. 

8)  Bargain hunting when you should be value hunting.   The fact is that fewer than half of the properties on the market ever sell, and those that do, generally sell within 98% of their asking price.  Most sellers do not realize this, and for the most part there is very little room for negotiation.  If you buy a $100,000 home for $90,000, you usually end up with a $90,000 home in need of work.  The values in our market usually do not last long.  Search for the most home for the money and plan to pay close to the asking price for such a value.

9)  Not having professional inspections.  Friends' and relatives' opinions are important but seldom admissable in court.  If you are getting any type of inspection, you should hire and pay a professional to do it for you.  If they are wrong their liability insurance should recover any loss you may have.  Not all home inspectors are equal, either.  Your Realtor can give you references to reputable inspectors.  Make sure your inspector is certified by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

Good disclosure helps everyone.  It gives buyers useful information, protects sellers from non-disclosure issues, and helps agents do their jobs with fewer distractions.

For no-obligation information on how an Accredited Buyers Agent can protect your interests and save you money, contact Brian Schulman at (717) 951-5552 or .


Brian Schulman offers expert real estate representation for buyers and sellers of homes in Lancaster County, PA.  To learn more, visit


Brian Schulman offers expert real estate representation for buyers and sellers of homes in Lancaster County, PA.  To learn more, visit

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Comment balloon 0 commentsBrian Schulman • May 28 2007 09:26PM