As they say, “There are no mistakes in life, only lessons.” I hope you’ll take something from these “lessons” some homebuyers have learned the hard way, and avoid having to learn them firsthand!
Make an offer without key decision-makers viewing the home. Sure, you might be able to include an inspection contingency and decide to back out later. It’s just not the best way to buy a house. Making offers to buy a home and agreeing in writing that you’re proceeding in good faith isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Your agent, the listing agent, the lender, and the seller all invest significant time and effort (and sanity!) into getting your offer accepted. And backing out could mean burning bridges and reputations. So, if there’s a good chance someone isn’t going to be happy with the house you’re making an offer on, have a serious conversation with that person about the house and decide if you still think it’s worthwhile to move forward on an offer or if you should pass. If the person is out of town, try giving them a video or photo tour remotely. If you still really want to make an offer, or can’t do these things for practical reasons, at least then you’ll know you didn’t make an offer without giving it some serious thought.
Buy a new car (or any other major purchases during the closing period). Your lender approves your home loan based on your income, debts and assets. A change in any of those things could cause serious issues with your loan (e.g., delaying closing, denial of your loan, etc.). Save yourself the headache and talk to your realtor or lender before making any major purchases.
Quit your job. It happens more than you’d think! If you just got preapproved for a home mortgage and quit your job before closing on your new home, your bank could end up denying your loan. Nothing is guaranteed until your loan is funded and escrow is closed. After closing day, you’re free to do what you wish with your pesky desk job, so do yourself a favor and wait until then (making sure you can still make your mortgage payments, of course)!
Take off on vacation or a “device-free” staycation. Luckily, technology allows us to buy and sell property from just about anywhere in the world these days. But if you plan to do home inspections, you may want to be in town during the closing period. Your lender may need additional documentation from you, and your realtor likely needs you to review and sign off on things on a certain timeline. So make sure you’ll be reachable for things that inevitably pop up, and have access to important documents. If you need to be away or inaccessible for a significant period of time, plan with your realtor and lender in advance. A little preparation can go a long way!
Receive, send or transfer large sums of money. Basically, avoid anything that could raise a red flag for your bank. If someone could question how money suddenly shows up in your account, err on the side of caution and talk to your realtor or lender first.
In sum, when in doubt, just take the couple of minutes to have a quick conversation with your realtor and ask for guidance! That’s what we’re here for…