Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How Not To Buy a House

How Not To Buy A House

(Or, A Tongue In Cheek Look at Common Buyer Mistakes)

Step 1. Look at homes online for several weeks. Any real estate website will do and national websites are great because they’ve got listings from all over the country to distract you.

Step 2. Choose a handful of homes online that you like the look of. Watch them for a couple of days or weeks. Jump online several times a day to check the status of the homes.

Step 3. Call or email a random Realtor about the status of your Faves. Do not reply to the Realtor’s offers to show you other similar homes nearby. Put the Realtor’s email on your spam list.

Step 4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 until a co-worker tells you about their brother in law (or any other relative) who just got a steal on a 5,000 square foot house “somewhere near Gilbert” with a 6-car garage, a full basement, an indoor pool and a go-kart raceway in the backyard, with a 1-acre lot and 360-degree mountain views – all for $73,000!

Step 5. Resolve to find The Best Deal in the World. Go back online and choose one home, which is The Perfect House,  and is listed at only $159,900. Assume you can offer $95,000 on it if you like it. (If you only sort of like it,  plan to offer $70,000.)

Step 6. Contact a Realtor (any agent will do, they're all the same, right?) and request a showing on The Perfect Home “as soon as possible!”

Step 7. Answer the Realtor’s call. Listen as the Realtor says you need a lender’s pre-approval form (called an LSR) before you can make an offer. Decline to speak with a lender. Instead tell the Realtor, “I want to see the house first. If it’s absolutely perfect for me, I’ll talk to my lender. Last year I was approved for $450,000, so I'm sure there won't be a problem.”

Step 8. Get angry when the Realtor says, “I’m pretty booked but I can meet you tomorrow after 6pm. Does that work?” Grudgingly take the appointment.

Step 9. Call another Realtor, who agrees to meet you tomorrow at lunch. Take the appointment. Kepp calling around until you find a Realtor who will meet you at The Perfect House in 20 minutes.

Step 10. Tour the house and realize it backs up to a landfill. Scratch it off your short list. Throw away that Realtor’s card. Forget to cancel the appointments you have with the other two Realtors. Go back to step 1.