Top 10 Tips On Avoiding Homebuying Mistakes

by David Weekley Homes

With the homebuying market at an all time high this year, the roller coaster ride of making a decision on what is likely to be one of the largest investments in a person's life is likely to be more challenging than ever before. How can anyone ensure that the experience of buying a home will be positive and upbeat as opposed to disappointing?

David Weekley, who has been building homes for two decades and is a recognized industry leader, has some insights to lessen the frustration level of buyers during the frenzy of the home buying season.

"There is no substitute for taking the time to educate yourself before you buy a house," says Weekley, President of Houston-based David Weekley Homes. "When you're putting 25 to 40 percent of your gross income on the line, you don't want to make a mistake. In a market as hot as we are currently projecting for 2000, you don't want rising interest rates and creeping prices to force you into making the wrong decision."

Weekley has identified the following Top 10 list of home buying mistakes and offers suggestions for avoiding them.

  1. Not doing your homework.
    You've probably heard the old maxim: "knowledge is power." Nowhere is this truer than in real estate. With a price tag that's two or three times our annual salary, if ever a purchase demanded preparation it is home buying. It can be overwhelming when you think about all the factors that can affect a home's value: its location, the school district, deed restrictions and taxes. That's why it's imperative that you do your homework before you start. With all of the information available today on the Internet, from Realtors and in housing guides, there's really no excuse for entering the market ill-prepared.
  2. Trying to make a shrewd investment.
    While real estate investing can make a great career, it's no place for amateurs. Your primary consideration when shopping for a home should be to find the best place to live for you and your family. You'll probably live there from three to five years. Not even the experts can look that far into the future and tell you what the real estate market will be like. So just look for something within your budget that appeals to you and the rest will take care of itself.
  3. Choosing a poor location.
    In this case, location refers to more than just a certain part of town, it's where the home is within the neighborhood. For example, a home on a busy street or backing up to a shopping center may seem like a minor compromise to make at first, until you realize it will become a growing annoyance every single day you live there - one you will have no control over.
  4. Overlooking an inferior floorplan for an attractive exterior.
    You'll spend far more time inside the house than outside. It doesn't matter how attractive the exterior is if the floorplan has limited appeal. Sink a lot of money into remodeling and there's a good chance you won't get it back when you sell. Your best bet is to judge the home by how it lives as well as how it looks. And if you have to choose between a great floorplan or a great exterior, go for the great floorplan.
  5. Overlooking how the home will function for YOUR family.
    Put away those fancy photographs of the homes of the rich and famous. Try not to be swayed by what others will think. And forget about finding a home your parents would like - unless they're helping with the down payment. If you like to entertain, then look for a large kitchen that's open to the family room. If you like your privacy then go for a master bedroom and bath that are separated from the rest of the living areas. Will you use a formal dining room or a home study? This home only needs to fit one family - yours. Your comfort and happiness ultimately will depend on how well you can judge that fit.
  6. Not having the home properly inspected when buying a resale.
    I can't emphasize this one enough. It may cost a few hundred dollars up front, but that's a fraction of what you could pay in repairs and maintenance if you don't have the home properly inspected. Potential problems may be difficult to see on the surface. The sellers may have disclosed everything they knew in good faith about the condition of the home, but only a state-licensed, professional inspector can tell you what the home's true condition is.
  7. Not checking out the builder's reputation when buying a new home.
    Here are the most important questions you should answer about any builder before you let them build your home.
    • How long have they been in business? (Success means happy customers)
    • How many homes have they sold? (Experience counts in homebuilding)
    • What do their homeowners think of them? (Get the scoop from those who know)
    • How many of the builder's customers would buy from him again?
    • What do other Home Builders say about this builder?
    • What industry recognition has the builder received?
    • What does the Realtor community think of the builder?
    • What kind of warranties does the builder offer?
    • Does this builder have a department solely dedicated to warranty issues?
    • The best way to check out a builder is to ring doorbells and knock on doors. Visit the neighborhoods where he builds and ask the homeowners about their experience. If you don't get satisfactory answers to most of these questions, choose another builder. A builder has only one thing of real value: his reputation. If the one you're considering doesn't have a good one, he shouldn't get your business.
  8. Not getting what you want because you're impatient.There are a lot of things you can rush into and recover from later. Buying a home is not one of them. It requires an enormous amount of energy, effort, and research. If it's a used home, you need time to negotiate. Seldom should you pay the "asking price" on a used home. The longer you can take the better the deal you can make. If time is limited because of a transfer or the impending sale of your home, try to make arrangements to delay the purchase. You can always store your non-essential things and rent in the interim. Sometimes people who purchase your home are willing to lease it back to you on a pro-rated basis if you need extra time. It doesn't hurt to ask and it could save a lot. If patience can save you $5,000 on the purchase price, wouldn't that be worth it?
  9. Waiting for a better time to buy based on the market and interest rates.
    "The rear view mirror is always clearer than the windshield," says famed investor Warren Buffet. Looking back, we all can see when the best time to buy a home would have been - although it would be hard to find a better time than today, with reasonable interest rates, low unemployment, and an expanding economy. But who can predict the future? The best we can do is to learn from the past. History shows that those who purchased homes and kept them for three to five years or more did better than those who didn't. How can you argue with that?
  10. The biggest home buying mistake is not buying at all.
    If you can afford to buy a home and you don't, here's what you have to look forward to: no place to call your own; no control - you will be at the mercy of your landlord; no tax break - Uncle Sam won't let you deduct a penny of that rent you're throwing down the drain; no appreciation; and no equity. "Following these guidelines, and talking to friends and family who have been through the home buying process, should help make the experience fun and successful," Weekley says.

Houston-based David Weekley Homes, Texas' largest, privately owned, single-family Home Builder, as well as the third largest, privately owned Home Builder in the U.S., is engaged in the design, construction, marketing and sales of single-family detached homes. David Weekley Homes currently builds in 18 markets across the nation, including Atlanta, Austin, Bluffton/Hilton Head, Charleston, Charlotte, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Fort Myers, Houston, Jacksonville, Orlando, Palm Coast, Panama City, Phoenix, Port Charlotte, Raleigh, San Antonio and Tampa. For more information about David Weekley Homes, visit the company's Web site at

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