Learning From Our Mistakes: Tips for Buying a Home

As a rule, I like to keep the blog light and fluffy. But, hopefully you’ll forgive me if I diverge from our normal path for a few posts, starting with a few basic tips on home buying that we learned the hard way.

1. Inspection, inspection, inspection. Our inspector was sub-par at best, and missed some major elements. Unless you have used your particular inspector before, or you have a trusted family member or friend that can vouch for your inspector, get a second opinion. It’s an extra expense, but it may save you some serious heartache down the road.


2. Get beyond the basics. A general inspection is a must, but after our own experience, I highly recommend a foundation inspection and a mold inspection. If you don’t want to spring for a foundation inspection, this site has some great tips on looking for foundation issues. http://realestate.msn.com/is-that-crack-serious-foundation-issues-101 As far as mold goes, a few of the tell-tale signs we noticed were stains on the ceiling near air ducts, a musty smell, and a dark spot on the wall, near some base trim. Of course, we noticed those things AFTER we had already closed on the house, because, frankly, we weren’t on the lookout.


3. Throw your assumptions and emotions out the window. Don’t trust that other people care for their home the same way that you would, or that they are as forthcoming as you might be about problems. And don’t fall head over heels for a house, because we all know love is blind – and that’s the last thing you need to be when you’re making a giant financial decision.


4. Make your realtor earn his or her keep. Your realtor should be your advocate during this process – finding the right home for your needs, explaining nuances to you, keeping you in the loop on important discussions, and having your best interests at heart. While we weren’t smart enough to do this ourselves, a friend actually “test drove” several realtors before partnering with one. If a realtor pushes you to make a decision in a rush (yes, I know this is an overheated market. That still doesn’t mean you should make snap decisions about something as important as buying a home) or pressures you to do something you aren’t comfortable with, part ways.


While the hubby and I are working hard to make lemonade with the lemons that were tossed our way, both of us still wish we could go back in time and follow the advice I shared with you. Here’s hoping this post will prevent a person or two from making the same mistakes we did!

Next post on-deck: an open letter to realtors. I’m snagging the opportunity to share my mini-rant here, and then I’ll consider this chapter of our lives over and done.


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