Buying and Selling

Find the Perfect Home by Avoiding These 4 Mistakes

Don’t bypass these key steps when house hunting

Finding a home that meets the items on your wish list—and falls within your budget—is certainly possible. The trick? Slow down and don’t bypass some key steps in the house hunting process.

Woman sitting in coffee shop looking at smart phone device
 

Mistake #1: Skipping the pre-approval step

Getting pre-approved is one of the best steps you can take when kicking off the home buying process. It helps you focus your search so you can shop in your price range. Plus, it shows sellers and agents that you’re a qualified and serious buyer. This is especially useful in a sellers’ market where the seller could have multiple offers on the table. 

77% of homebuyers get pre-approved.1

Parents playing with toddler child in new home
 

Mistake #2: Getting attached to a home out of your price range

Crunch the numbers to figure out a monthly budget that you feel comfortable paying (most experts recommend spending less than 30% of your income toward housing costs). Stay focused to find the home that meets your “must-have” criteria yet still gives you breathing room in your budget. Remember, you aren’t required to spend your full pre-approval amount. Think of it as a limit for the top end of your budget.

One-third of homebuyers go over their home buying budget by more than $16,000.2

Family is having fun playing with skateboards in the living room
 

Mistake #3: Relying (solely) on a virtual tour

Thanks to virtual tours and plentiful photos online, you can often “stroll” through a home at your own convenience—in fact, 35% of homebuyers make an offer without ever seeing a property in-person.2 This can be especially common if you are relocating for work and need to move in quickly.

That said, a property tour or open house is the time to check for red flags, such as unfinished or sloppy projects. Also look at cabinets, closets or other areas not pictured in virtual tours or website photos. And use the time to get a sense of the community—after all, the home includes more than just the house.

52% of homebuyers got additional information about a house through an open house visit.3

Man and woman speaking with mortgage loan officer or realtor
 

Mistake #4: Handling it solo

Thanks to smartphones and apps, it’s tempting to think you can purchase a home without any help from the pros. But don’t overlook the experience and knowledge of an effective real estate agent and mortgage loan officer. Talk with family members and friends to hear about their experiences or referrals. This can be an excellent way to gauge the type and quality of service you can expect.

74% of buyers would use their agent again or recommend them to others.4

Bottom line: Don’t rush through the process. Purchasing a home is a big decision, so help yourself out by slowing down and taking all the steps needed to do it correctly. Stay focused, get the help you need and find the home you’ve been hunting for.

Get started on your home search today

Whether you’re just getting started or ready to take the next step, SunTrust Mortgage is here to help.

1 “The Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends,” Oct. 18, 2016, Zillow

2 “Sight-Unseen in 2017: 35% of Homebuyers Bid on a Home Before Seeing it in Person,” 2018, Redfin

3 “Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report,” 2018, National Association of REALTORS

4 “Quick Real Estate Statistics,” 2018, National Association of REALTORS

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

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