I normally like to keep my blog positive and upbeat, and feel like complaining does really no one any good. But I do believe that there is a lesson to be learned in nearly every bad experience, especially when it comes to home buying!
I know my less than perfect home buying experience taught be a few very valuable lessons and I think that sharing my story can help some of you know what not to do (what I did!) when buying your next home, so you can avoid the nightmare I ended up in!
In February, I set out to buy my first home as a single woman. I was so excited. I went through a divorce about 5 years ago and lost my beautiful dream home to my ex and have been renting since (which has kind of been a nightmare of its own with some less than desirable landlords and renting situations!) I was SO ready to be a homeowner again, and this time without the threat of losing it in another divorce!
Mistake #1: My first and biggest mistake in home-buying happened when I picked my realtor. I was referred to her by a very close friend at the time and felt she would be trustworthy and just the right person to help me with the job, unfortunately, that was not the case.
I felt like I was put on the back burner much of the time because I wasn’t searching for a home in the price range and area she would like me to look. After about a month, I actually found my future home online and sent it to her for her to show me!
The home had everything I wanted and I knew immediately on seeing it, it was MY house! I was so excited! My realtor had told me previously that she never has the buyer cover closing costs and always asks the seller, so I wasn’t even thinking about it when she set up the offer. She told me the deets, that I would offer up $3000 cash upfront to put a nice spin on going with me as a buyer (something she knew many other buyers would not be able to offer up).
She was right, it worked, and my offer was the one the seller chose!
I wanted to look at the house again and also had my realtor set me up with an inspection. The inspector told me there were SEVERAL electrical issues I needed to have an electrician look at.
My realtor then put me in line with her own electrician.
Mistake #2. ALWAYS USE YOUR OWN CONTRACTORS, not your realtor’s contractors.
My basement fuse box/electrical panel was in some dire shape and the inspector told me it looks off and to have an electrician look at it. My realtor’s electrician told me everything was fine only to my dismay, about a month later – I started having some scary weird electrical sparks coming from my fuse box! Which I later found out from another electrician was because everything in my whole basement was wired up to one small amp wattage (including my whole furnace!) and was certainly very unsafe!
I was then quoted $1200 to fix it.
Along with the electrical issues, I was talked down on my “concerns” that came back from my inspection by my realtor. “All old homes have these problems,” she told me, but it turns out they were very valid concerns that should’ve been validated by my realtor and handled by the seller. Instead, I got stuck dealing with ALL these problems within the first couple months of moving in – myself!
The day I moved in, I noticed the door to my unattached garage was completely broken and busted in (like someone had kicked it in). I quickly realized that on both occasions I had come to see the house, my realtor had me stand out front and opened the car garage door for me to come in that way, so I had never even seen the door to garage. Hmm….
I also bought the house with a working sprinkler system which was included in the ad and pricing. My dad and I looked all over in the snow for the box one day, only for my realtor to tell me she had found it. So we brushed it off and went about the other inspections.
But guess what? When spring came and I went to start my sprinklers. No box. None at all. It was completely buried in the new walls the seller had built when flipping the house. My $7000 sprinkler system I had bought with the house, thinking it had worked (because that’s what was advertised and my realtor had told me she had seen) – didnt!
Mistake #3. Always check everything in the house yourself before closing on the house! Don’t rely on your realtor or contractors to “tell” you that it’s been fixed.
Another month or two after moving in, along with electrical issues, my house and sprung a plumbing leak. I didn’t have a plumber look at the fixes and new updates from the seller flipping the house, but I should have! My plumber told me that much of it was not up to code. Unfortunately, I had relied on my realtor’s inspector to catch this, which he didn’t.
in May, my furnace quit blowing hot air. I hired an HVAC company to come look at it. My furnace had been wired weird but was ok, but he was nice enough to check my AC for me, which to my dismay (and honestly kind of no surprise by now) was not working! When buying the house, the seller has said they had the HVAC and AC checked out and even sent over the bill showing it.
Mistake #4 – Don’t rely on the Seller’s Contractors. After telling my HVAC guy that the seller had had this checked and sent me the paperwork, he chuckled. “Unfortunately I see this ALL the time,” he says. “So many buyers go off the seller’s word and the word of their contractors, but they are just trying to get the house sold quick and often their contractors will even “overlook” some of the issues.
“I tell everyone to always get their own contractors when buying a house, and never rely on the sellers,” he told me.
Ugh. I’d love to say this was the last of my nightmare, but it isn’t. I wanted to break down a wall to make the master bedroom bigger. My realtor told me her contractor friend quoted her at about $750 to do it. That wasn’t right at all. It would be at least double that by any reputable contractor, which her contractor supposedly was. Again, I should have gotten a bid from my own contractor here so I knew what I was getting into before buying.
The Inspection also found insulation had been removed in the attic above the kitchen. My Realtor told me she had info for me on Dominion Energy doing it for me for free. But… I Never got the email after repeated attempts from her. She just ended up straight up ignoring them not long after I had closed on my house. I’m not sure if this was the truthful, but it looks like I’m getting stuck with a fee to pay for it myself.
On the closing day, when going through the paperwork, I got another fun surprise! Remember how above I told you my realtor told me she NEVER asks her buyers to pay the closing costs? Well, guess who the paperwork said was paying for it? Me!
Mistake #5. Always, ALWAYS thoroughly go over any closing/offer paperwork before closing on your house! Don’t just take your Realtor’s word for it!
I also got a nice surprise from call my mortgage officer, that the closing date was less than a week away! Surprise! Again I didn’t look closely at the paperwork and my realtor didn’t tell me the date she chose (which she should have).
My down payment was tied up in investments and no way I was getting them in time! I would have lost my $3000 cash I had put down with my offer AND the house, had my dad not stepped in to cover my ENTIRE $40,000 down payment for me in the meantime!
I know what you’re thinking. Wow, Cindy, you really blew it by not going over the paperwork your self and by hiring that realtor! Maybe you should have gotten someone else! Yes, that certainly feels true. But realtors ALL have a lot to gain and some may be less than honest when it comes to selling you on the house and getting you to pay top dollar for it.
I hate to bash them all and while there are certainly good, honest realtors out there, they’re getting a huge cut, after all, a whopping 6% of what you pay the seller! And really, when it comes down to it, realtors are only truly working for themselves – not you!
Not all experiences with realtors go this way, but they do have something to gain (something my dad warned me about first thing) and may ultimately have the sellers back to get you into that home quick – not yours!
So how does one avoid this problem? My solution is super simple guys, and its only 1 solution to all of this! Use Homie the next time you buy (or sell) a home!
It’s certainly what I wish I would’ve done, and I am still kicking myself for it!
Why take the risk? You don’t need a realtor!
Buying your next home with Homie has tons of benefits! Homie offers free agents to show you the property with no commission to gain. No need to be dishonest and sell you on something that may not be the best fit. And homie will GIVE you $5000 towards your closing costs just for using them!
Doing your own paperwork/offer through homie, while it may cause you a little work, you’ll know exactly what’s going in to it (because like me, most of us just glance over and don’t fully read paperwork/contracts) and Homie has agents to help you through the whole process of submitting an offer and negotiating too!
You get everything with Homie that you would with a traditional agent! Learn more about Homie HERE!
You can also get your mortgage loan with some of the lowest rates around through Homie! Working closely with them to ensure something like this doesn’t happen to you – Like my surprise closing date!)
Homie closes much faster than traditional home loans (Homie is in the top 1% for speed of closing!) -Which will help your offer seem that much more enticing too – without having to put extra cash down like I had to!
I love my house and ultimately it was the best choice for me. But big issues should have been “acknowledged” and fixed and/or my house offer should have been a lot less.
Oh, and if you will be selling a home too, Using Homie to sell your home will save you those 6% fees you’d be handing over to your realtor for selling your house! Homie saves home sellers on average, $10,000 by using Homie instead of a traditional realtor! Yep, you read that right, $10,000 ON AVERAGE!
It costs a mere $1500 to use Homie to sell your home. Simply pay the $199 upfront to get listed and then the $1299 balance (instead of the 6% you’d normally pay a realtor) when you close on your house! It’s that easy! See my 6 easy staging tips for selling your home!
Homie has a team of agents and lawyers to help you through the process of selling your home too, so you’re never alone! You’ve got help 24/7, right at your fingertips!
Homie not only saves you A TON of money on selling your home, but they also help you with the whole process of selling your house too! Learn more about how Homie can help you buy/sell your home HERE!