Here’s the second (and last) part of the Bankrate.com article on ten real estate mistakes not to make. Enjoy.
6. Hiring the wrong agent — Interview several agents. Ask for references. And don’t always go for the top performer. Which would you rather have, and agent that listed forty homes and sold thirty, or one that listed fifteen homes and sold fourteen. As far as listing price and commission go, you don’t necessarily want the agent that promises the highest listing price, nor do you necessarily want the one that charges the lowest commission.
7. Missing the big picture — Don’t lose site of things like your commute, tax rates, school locations, homeowner’s association rules, etc. when deciding whether or not a particular house is your ‘dream house.’ Speaking from experience, even a moderately long commute can wear thin over time.
8. Not knowing what you’re signing — The sales contract is a legally binding document, so read it carefully. It should spell out everything, including who’s paying for what in terms of closing costs and repairs. Any verbal commitments should be put in writing. If you’re not using an attorney, make sure your agent is proactive in the construction and interpretation of the contract before you sign it or make concessions.
9. Poor timing — If at all possible, sell your current home before signing on the dotted line for a second property. This is probably the most stressful aspect of the selling/buying process for us… We don’t want to carry two mortgages, and we definitely don’t want to move twice.
10. Not completing your due diligence with a criminal search — Realtor’s aren’t obliged to tell you if there’s a sex offender in a certain neighborhood unless you ask. So ask. And then check up on it yourself. This is something that I just did the other day… I found the state’s registered sex offender web site and then pulled up a list of unsavory characters in the area in which we’re looking. While it’s always possible that someone could slip under the radar, there’s no way in hell that we’ll be buying a house anywhere near a known offender.
See also: Ten Real Estate Mistakes, Part 1