* Not understanding the length of the buying/selling process. Patience pays off.
* Exposing your hand. Contain your enthusiasm.
* Skipping the loan preapproval step. Let them know you’re serious about buying.
* Assuming the appraisal equals actual value. Don’t trust them, get a comparative market analysis.
* Timing the bubble “burst.” Markets are more likely to fade than pop.
* Hiring the wrong agent. Try one who is smart, empathetic, experienced and dedicated (SEED).
* Missing the big picture. You might find the perfect house, but don’t forget to look at things like commute distance, taxes, schools, and homeowner associations.
* Not knowing what you’re signing. Review the legally-binding contract!
* Poor timing. Not market timing, personal timing. Buying a new house before you’re able to sell the old? You could get stuck with two mortgages.
* Not completing your due diligence with a criminal search. You might have to research the community for sex offenders on your own.
I’m getting to the point where I’m tired of living in apartments with inpermanence and would like to settle down. There are still too many questions in my life to make such a long term investment, in my opinion. Perhaps that will change by 2007 or 2008.
Published or updated December 30, 2005. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.