You don’t really have much choice today. With COVID-19 still taking over the world, using the internet to buy a home is far more common. Even if you do many things in person, you’ll likely still use the internet to start your home search.
Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or you’re buying for the second or third time, the internet will be a tool you use to find the right home. Before logging on, make sure you’re aware of the most common home-buying mistakes made when using the internet.
5 Common Home-Buying Mistakes Made Using the Internet
1. Believing the Values from Internet Home Value Estimators
The online tools used to estimate home value are not perfect, by any means. You could plug in the same factors into multiple calculators and get different estimates.
These tools simply are not accurate. In fact, the Zillow home value estimator can be off by as much as 25%. In fact, an article from Debbie Drummond looked at the comparison of real values and the Zillow Estimates.
Another article from Kyle Hiscock also showed how inaccurate the Zillow home values are.
2. Limiting the Search
While online home shopping is great because you can choose your own parameters, it can also cause you to limit your search too much. Sure, you can search by the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, price, and many other parameters, but you could also miss out.
One of the problems with using the internet to search for a home is your relying on others. You’re relying on the listing agent to properly categorize the home. If they make a mistake, it may not show up in your search.
Another issue with searching online for a home is the cut off on price. You might think you should only search up to $300K because that’s the highest you can go on your budget. What if the perfect home for you was listed for $305K and your agent could negotiate the price to $295K?
When searching for a home online, don’t be afraid to expand your parameters. Maybe you want a 4 bedroom home, but the perfect home for you is listed as a 3 bedroom home with a den. The den could be a fourth bedroom, but you’d never find this home unless you change your search parameters.
3. Using Inaccurate Websites
When you search for homes online, not all websites are equal. Some real estate websites don’t get updated nearly as often as they should. They may show a home for sale when it was already sold months ago.
Before you start searching online, make sure you’re using an accurate website. When searching in Fairfax or Springfield, you want to make sure you choose a website giving you the most accurate listings available.
4. Hiring an Agent without Speaking to Them
Another common mistake made when shopping for a home online is deciding to hire an agent without a proper interview. Even if you don’t want to meet agents in person, you should at least speak with them over the phone to ensure they are the right agent for you.
One of the most important things you will do when buying a home is to hire the right agent. Without a good agent to help you through the process, you might spend more time searching for a home than necessary.
Be aware, when you shop for a home online, you will likely get contacted by multiple agents. Do your homework and make sure you speak with any agent you’re considering hiring.
5. Looking at Homes You can’t Afford
It’s simply a waste of time and it can make it harder to like homes in your actual price range. When you search for homes you cannot afford, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Instead of making this mistake, get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will ensure you know the right price range to be searching in and you won’t fall in love with a home way outside your range.
Once you’re pre-approved, start searching for home within your price range. It’s okay to go slightly higher as some home prices might be negotiable, but avoid going much outside your budget.
There are plenty of mistakes you can make when shopping for a home online. When it’s time to buy a home, the best thing you can do is get pre-approved for a mortgage and find a good real estate agent. Your agent will help guide you through the process and help you avoid making these common mistakes when using the internet to buy a home.