8 Dumb Reasons People Can’t Buy a Home

Needless to say – this headline got my attention – so I had to read and share it. ¬†Real¬†Estate is a micro¬†environment, and it takes time and guidance to¬†figure out this journey – The Caton Team is here for¬†you each step of the way. ¬†I’ve added my two cents in italics.

8 Dumb Reasons People Can’t Buy a Home

By Daniel Bortz |

Buying a home‚ÄĒespecially if it‚Äôs your first‚ÄĒcan be a lot like losing weight in the sense that people end up doing, well, some pretty dumb¬†stuff in the process.¬†But while¬†desperate dieters might waste money on ‚Äúmagical‚ÄĚ weight-loss pills or¬†silly exercise equipment (remember the shake weight?), misguided home buyers could be doing far more serious damage‚ÄĒlike undermining¬†their ability to purchase a house at all. Don’t be one of them!¬†We asked real estate agents to shed light on some of the dumbest reasons people can’t buy a home. The good news? These¬†flubs are easily avoidable. Read on¬†and beware.

Dumb reason No. 1: Waiting to line up financing

This is so true Рwe wait thinking we can save.  But what we need to ask is Рhow quick is the market appreciating and can I match or beat that pace?  Chances are no.

Your first step in the home-buying process should be to meet with a mortgage lender to discuss your financing options, says Benny Kang, a real estate agent in Irvine, CA.

‚ÄúYou don‚Äôt truly know what you can afford until you meet with a lender,‚ÄĚ says Kang. In other words, just because you think you can buy a $1 million house doesn‚Äôt mean you can actually get a loan to¬†purchase a home that nice.

This is so true!  I meet so many clients that do not realize the importance of the home loan, the time it takes to get approved and so forth. 

Dumb reason No. 2: Using a fly-by-night mortgage lender

The mortgage industry is rife with scams‚ÄĒincluding a slew of fake or unreliable lenders. Placing your trust in a bad lender can cause¬†a deal to fall through. That explains why ‚Äúsometimes sellers reject offers because of the buyer‚Äôs lender,‚ÄĚ says¬†Philadelphia real estate agent Kathy Conway. To make sure your financing is rock-solid, ask your real estate agent for lender recommendations instead of, say, just Googling it. And read up to know your mortgage¬†basics.

Online lending tempting you Рstop right there and change the channel.  The Caton Team has a list of reputable, local lenders that know what it takes to own a home in the Silicon Valley.  You get what you pay for Рbe smart.

Dumb reason No. 3: Getting pre-qualified rather than pre-approved

Pre-qualification and pre-approval might sound similar, but they‚Äôre not. Essentially, anyone can get pre-qualified for a loan, because¬†it only involves having a conversation with a lender about the state of your finances (no documents are exchanged).¬†Getting pre-approved, meanwhile, involves the lender gathering all necessary documentation‚ÄĒyour tax returns, bank statements, pay stubs, and more‚ÄĒpackaging the loan, and submitting the file to an underwriter for review. If everything checks out, the lender will issue you a written commitment for financing up to a certain loan amount that‚Äôs good for up to 90 or 120 days.

When you submit an offer on a home, you’ll need to include a pre-approval letter from your lender, says Conway.

‚ÄúEducated sellers won‚Äôt even entertain an offer unless the buyer has a letter of pre-approval‚ÄĚ from a reliable lender, Conway¬†says.

Let me take this a step further, if an agent takes you to see homes and you’re not approved – you’re doing this all wrong. ¬†The Caton Team strives to¬†make the real estate¬†journey as smooth as possible – meaning – get pre-approved for a home loan first – then look at¬†homes. ¬†Curious why? ¬†Contact us and we’d be happy to share what it takes to be an¬†owner and not a¬†buyer in this market. ¬†

Dumb reason No. 4: Shopping outside your price range

‚ÄúIt sounds obvious, but some home buyers just have trouble sticking to a budget,‚ÄĚ says Kang. Therefore, resist the temptation to shop online for homes that are simply outside your price range (i.e., how much you‚Äôve been pre-approved for).

By all means, window shop¬†for homes all you¬†want. ¬†I do it – it’s fun. ¬†But don’t waste your time day dreaming if you truly want to own real estate.

Dumb reason No. 5: Making lowball offers in a seller’s market

You need to rely on your real estate agent to determine whether a house that you‚Äôre interested in has a fair listing price. (Your agent will do this by performing a comparative market analysis, which entails looking at recently sold properties that are comparable to the house that‚Äôs up for sale.) If a home is priced well, it might¬†make sense to offer full price, says Kang. Moreover, ‚Äúif you‚Äôre in a seller‚Äôs market, making a crazy lowball offer can piss off the seller‚ÄĚ and kill your offer, says Kang.

Dumb reason No. 6: Writing a bad personal letter to the seller

If you’re competing against other buyers, writing the seller a personal letter can help strengthen your offer. But Julie McDonough, a real estate agent in Southern California, says some home buyers are inclined to overshare, in which case a letter can actually hurt your offer.

‚ÄúStick to the fact that you love the house and the neighborhood,‚ÄĚ says McDonough. ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt get into personal details‚ÄĚ such as¬†the fact that you‚Äôve lost out on other homes or want to remodel the dated kitchen.

The letter is a great piece of the offer package.  Write it.  Need I say more?

Dumb reason No. 7: Making a big purchase while in escrow

Some home buyers make the mistake of opening new credit accounts while they’re in the process of buying a house. But purchasing a big-ticket item like a car or a boat while you’re buying a house can jeopardize your financing. Why? Because your mortgage lender’s underwriter is going to re-evaluate your finances and recheck your credit report shortly before closing in order to determine that you’re still able to qualify for the loan.

‚ÄúEven buying a fridge can throw off your credit or debt-to-income ratio,‚ÄĚ says Conway. Translation: Don‚Äôt make any big purchases until after you close on the house.

You’re buying a house – that’s all the money you can spend. ¬†Hide your wallet¬†till after escrow closes.

Dumb reason No. 8: Not budgeting for closing costs

If you don‚Äôt have enough cash to cover closing costs, you won‚Äôt make it to settlement; and if that‚Äôs the case, you could lose your earnest money deposit. Thus, make sure to get an estimate from your mortgage lender of what your closing costs will be¬†before¬†making an offer on a property (currently, this is legally required‚ÄĒjust make sure to read it).

Closing costs vary widely by location, but they typically total 2% to 7% of the home’s purchase price. So on a $250,000 home, your closing costs could come to $5,000 to $17,500. Both buyers and sellers usually pitch in on closing costs, but buyers shoulder the lion’s share of the load (3% to 4% of the home’s price) compared with sellers (1% to 3%), so you need to make sure you have enough cash on hand to pay your portion.

All the more reason to sit down with a lender and a Realtor from the start.  We are here to map out your journey and make it as smooth as possible.  How can The Caton Team help you?

I read this article at: http://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/dumb-reasons-people-cant-buy-a-home/?identityID=9851214&MID=2017_0714_WeeklyNL&RID=353497822

Remember to follow our Blog for the local real estate beat, a pulse on the San Francisco Peninsula at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com

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Thanks for reading ‚Äď Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

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Negotiate Your Best House Buy

Negotiate Your Best House Buy

I love to share articles I find interesting ‚Äď I‚Äôve added my 2 cents in italics‚Ķ

Keep your emotions in check and your eyes on the goal, and you’ll pay less when purchasing a home.

Here are six tips for negotiating the best price on a home.

1. Get prequalified for a mortgage

Getting prequalified for a mortgage proves to sellers that you’re serious about buying and capable of affording their home. That will push you to the head of the pack when sellers choose among offers; they’ll go with buyers who are a sure financial bet, not those whose financing could flop.

This is so much the first step towards home ownership ‚Äď any Realtor worth their salt won‚Äôt even take a buyer out until they are pre-approved and understand their budget and constraints.¬† In the San Francisco Bay Area ‚Äď don‚Äôt bother writing an offer until you have a pre-approval in hand ‚Äď or proof of cash.

2. Ask questions

Ask your agent for information to help you understand the sellers’ financial position and motivation. Are they facing foreclosure or a short sale? Have they already purchased a home or relocated, which may make them eager to accept a lower price to avoid paying two mortgages? Has the home been on the market for a long time, or was it just listed? Have there been other offers? If so, why did they fall through? The more signs that sellers are eager to sell, the lower your offer can reasonably go.

The Caton Team also finds out the big picture so we can tailor each offer for the best fit.¬† When faced against multiple offers ‚Äď information is key and structuring your offer is imperative.¬†

3. Work back from a final price to determine your initial offer

Know in advance the most you’re willing to pay, and with your agent work back from that number to determine your initial offer, which can set the tone for the entire negotiation. A too-low bid may offend sellers emotionally invested in the sales price; a too-high bid may lead you to spend more than necessary to close the sale. 

Work with your agent to evaluate the sellers’ motivation and comparable home sales to arrive at an initial offer that engages the sellers yet keeps money in your wallet.

The Caton Team will provide a buyer with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) when we sit down to write the offer.  We take into account the current state of the market, what homes have sold for in the recent past, what they are going for now, and the amount of competition for each home.  Try to maintain an open mind when writing your offer. 

4. Avoid contingencies

Sellers favor offers that leave little to chance. Keep your bid free of complicated contingencies, such as making the purchase conditional on the sale of your current home. Do keep contingencies for mortgage approval, home inspection, and environmental checks typical in your area, like radon.

Contingencies are what protect the buyer.  Talk closely with your Realtor on which contingencies should stay in and which you can omit to improve your offer.  Each client and offer is different.  That’s why it is so important to work with a Realtor you trust. 

5. Remain unemotional

Buying a home is a business transaction, and treating it that way helps you save money. Consider any movement by the sellers, however slight, a sign of interest, and keep negotiating. 

Each time you make a concession, ask for one in return. If the sellers ask you to boost your price, ask them to contribute to closing costs or pay for a home warranty. If sellers won’t budge, make it clear you’re willing to walk away; they may get nervous and accept your offer.

This strategy works great when you are the ONLY offer.  So much time is wasted by buyers who think they hold the reigns in negotiations.  In the San Francisco Bay Area we have low inventory right now and high demand.  Setting the stage for a Sellers Market. Each listing will entertain multiple offers.  So it is best to write your best offer up front because chances are you will NOT get a counter offer or the chance to change your offer once submitted.  It is imperative you work closely with a Realtor you trust.  Each offer opportunity is unique and will require a new strategy. 

6. Don’t let competition change your plan

Great homes and those competitively priced can draw multiple offers in any market. Don‚Äôt let competition propel you to go beyond your predetermined price or agree to concessions‚ÄĒsuch as waiving an inspection‚ÄĒthat aren‚Äôt in your best interest.

Great advice.  The Caton Team will not push our clients to do anything they are not comfortable with.  I would rather change our purchasing strategy and shop in a different market or price point than overextend our clients reach just because the housing market is competitive.

Buyers must be aware that they cannot control the market or the volume of competition.¬† All a buyer can do is educate themselves on the market, understand their budget and their max and shop within their parameters.¬† Nobody said it would be easy ‚Äď but The Caton Team does strive for a smooth overall experience.¬†

By: G. M. Filisko

I read this article at:  http://members.houselogic.com/articles/negotiate-best-house-buy/preview/

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

A Cinderella Story ‚Äď Anna ‚Äď From Renter to Owner

A Cinderella Story ‚Äď Anna ‚Äď From Renter to Owner

First time homebuyers bring us joy!¬† Not only are they the corner stone of the real estate market ‚Äď they are the fuel.¬† Without the first time homebuyer, it would be hard for owners/sellers to move on to their next home.

But with great responsibility comes work.¬† And in the San Francisco Bay Area ‚Äď it‚Äôs hard work.¬† 2013 has been an interesting year in local real estate.¬† We know prices hit bottom in 2009 and many buyers, sitting on the fence for the past several years, were unsure where the market was going.¬† Early in 2013 these buyers got off the fence and changed the dynamic of our local real estate market.

After the New Years Eve confetti was brushed away, many buyers started looking.¬† Earlier this year, we had very limited inventory.¬† In fact, we‚Äôve had low inventory since our prices dropped.¬† Amazing low interest rates, coupled with low prices ‚Äď generated some excitement.

Over the holidays, a friend and fellow Notre Dame alumni reached out to me with a question.¬† Could she buy a condo?¬† Before the local real estate bust, condos and home prices steadily rose.¬†¬† Back then a one-bedroom condo ran close to a half-a-million bucks.¬† Not an easy price for a first time homebuyer.¬† So when prices fell ‚Äď opportunity was knocking.

With her pre-approval in hand we took Anna out for her first tour.¬† At first, she expected her house hunt to take one month.¬† Quickly we explained that with the current low inventory and high buyer demand, we were looking at closer to 6 months than 1 month to find and acquire a home.¬† A frown ‚Äď but she held tight.

Our first problem ‚Äď there wasn‚Äôt much to look at.¬† Once we looked at older inventory ‚Äď it became a race to see the new ones.¬† As soon as a new condo came on ‚Äď I was on the phone with her setting an appointment to show it.¬† I have got to say ‚Äď Anna understood the importance of the early worm.¬† She didn‚Äôt push the most expensive and important purchase of her life to the end of her day, or only on the weekend.¬† Anna understood that the market waits for NO ONE!¬† So during her lunch break or between her appointments,¬†we‚Äôd take a look.

Earlier this year, with demand high, most units had offer dates set after the first open house.  Making it a mad dash to the finish line to get her offer in.  Being that we looked during the week, Anna had the opportunity to show the unit to her family and friends over the weekend and write her offer with confidence.

We must have written 5 offers in a few months.¬† It felt like we wrote offers once a week.¬† And slowly, as units were closing escrow ‚Äď we saw it ‚Äď she saw it ‚Äď the market price was inching upwards and eventually she‚Äôd be priced out of the market.

Now Anna is a very savvy young woman.¬† She saw the writing on the wall ‚Äď I didn‚Äôt have to tell her it was a matter of time before we had nothing to shop for.¬† So Anna did what all smart buyers have to do ‚Äď she took a look at her ‚Äėwants vs. needs‚Äô list and made some reality adjustments.¬† In the end, location was her most important attribute.¬† She didn‚Äôt want to live in the fringes of the Bay Area just to say she had more space.¬† Anna wanted to be close to work and near a downtown to enjoy her life.

Then a junior one bedroom came on the market in Santa Clara.¬† Right in the heart of it – it was a great location.¬† And you know what how important location is in Real Estate!¬† We were quick to write an offer.¬† Up against three others ‚Äď she was out bid.¬† Thankfully The Caton Team, with 25+ years in the business has earned a nice reputation among local agents.¬† With a clean offer and backed up by our expertise, Anna was given a counter offer and my next call to her would prove to be most joyous.

Congratulations Anna!  You were a joy to work with and The Caton Team is honored to have been the Realtors to turn you from renter into owner!

 

How can The Caton Team help you?  We’re a call or click away!

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Home Buyers Face Dilemma with Housing Shortage – SF GATE sheds some light…

After a great open house yesterday with candid discussions with the buyers out there. ¬†It was great to find this article this morning in the Sunday paper regarding what Realtors in the Bay Area were already thinking. ¬†If you want to call our glorious SF Peninsula home – now is the time. ¬†We hit bottom, whether it was 2009 or 2012. ¬†With limited inventory and low rates driving renters from out under their rock – homes are selling with multiple offers and for over their listed price. ¬†And with demand this strong – we don’t feel prices are going to fall anytime soon. ¬†Take a read and let me know your thoughts. ¬†Comment or email us at info@thecatonteam.com! ¬†Enjoy!

Home Buyers Face Dilemma with Housing Shortage

The sharp drop in homes for sale poses a tough choice for buyers: Jump in now and compete with hordes of others or wait until inventory¬†improves.¬† If you buy now, you might have to pay above asking. But if you wait, you could end up paying an even higher price and a higher interest rate if you need a loan. That’s because inventory won’t improve until prices rise enough to get more homeowners to sell and more builders to break¬†ground.

The inventory shortage is especially acute in California. Of the 30 largest housing markets, the four with the biggest drops in homes listed for sale on Zillow in February compared with February of last year were Sacramento (48 percent), Los Angeles, San Francisco (41 percent) and San¬†Diego.¬† Although listings are increasing on a month-to-month basis as the busy spring season gets under way, Trulia Chief Economist Jed Kolko predicts they won’t start rising on a year-over-year basis for a year or¬†more.

An example of that: “In all of Millbrae, there was one listing two months ago. There are about a dozen now,” says Roger Dewes, a Coldwell Banker agent on the Peninsula. In a normal market, there might be 20. “We are not there yet, but going from one to 12 is quite a leap,” he¬†says.

Experts cite five factors contributing to the inventory shortage:

Fewer foreclosures are hitting the market. “California did a good job of disposing of its backlog” of distressed properties, says Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries.

In California, where most foreclosures are handled out of court, the process is taking about 11 months on average, according to RealtyTrac. In New York and New Jersey, where foreclosures go through a court proceeding, the process is taking 36 and 32 months, respectively.

Many people still owe more than their homes are worth. If they sold now, they would have to come up with extra cash to pay off their loan. Although prices have rebounded from their lows, 23.3 percent of homes with a mortgage in San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties were still underwater in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to Zillow.

Even if they are not underwater, many owners won’t sell for less than they paid. If they bought near the peak, it may take a while before they are ready to¬†budge.

The median price paid for a new or resale home or condo in the nine-county Bay Area was $415,000 in January. That’s less than halfway between its low of $290,000 in March 2009 and its high of $665,000 set in June/July 2007, according to¬†DataQuick.

Many people, even if their homes are worth more than they paid, won’t sell because they are afraid they won’t be able to buy another house. “It becomes a game of musical chairs; they are afraid to get out because they can’t get back in,” Humphries says. This becomes “a self-reinforcing cycle” that keeps homes off the¬†market.

The housing bust put new construction on hold.

The shortage comes at a time when demand is rising in the Bay Area, not just from regular buyers but from investors, second-home buyers and foreign buyers, especially from Asia.

‘Heck of a¬†wreck’

The result is stories like this: A 1,500-square-foot home on Clipper Street on San Mateo’s east side, advertised as a “heck of a wreck,” attracted 97 offers in the first eight days, says listing agent Claire Haggarty of NBT Realty Services.

The home was listed in mid-January at $375,000, which Haggarty considered “a little under market.” It sold for $510,000 in an all-cash deal with no inspections, no contingencies and a 10-day¬†close.

At some point, prices will rise enough to shake lose more inventory, but it won’t happen¬†immediately.¬† Based on what’s happening around the country, Kolko says inventory tightens fastest in the first 12 months after prices hit a bottom. “Everybody wants to buy at the bottom and nobody wants to sell at the bottom,” he¬†says.

About 12 months after hitting bottom, inventory continues to decline, albeit at a slower pace. But it won’t increase on a year-over-year basis until at least two years after hitting bottom, he¬†predicts.¬† If you adjust for the mix of homes sold, Kolko says prices bottomed in February 2012 nationwide and in most parts of California and the Bay Area. (The San Jose metro area bottomed earlier, in June¬†2011.)

Although DataQuick shows Bay Area home prices bottoming in 2009, that’s when most homes being sold were low-priced. The middle and upper end of the market bottomed in early 2012, says DataQuick’s Andrew LePage.

If you believe Kolko’s two-year rule, inventory won’t begin increasing on a year-over-year basis until at least early 2014 in most¬†areas.¬† Humphries says it might improve earlier, by the end of the year, but “this spring will still be challenging from an inventory perspective.” If you wait until next year to buy, the market may be cooler but prices are likely to be higher. There’s also a risk that interest rates will be higher, he¬†says.

Sweet spot 

The sweet spot for buyers might be this summer. Even though inventory is falling year-over-year, “the seasonal pattern means there will be more homes on the market in the summer,” Kolko says. “Search traffic peaks in the spring, but inventory peaks in¬†July.”¬† Many buyers also go on vacation in July and August, Dewes¬†says.

The decision to buy or wait “really comes down to a fundamental decision about how long you will be in a home,” Humphries says. “If you want to be in a home long enough to make buying better than renting, make that decision as soon as you¬†can.”

In the city of San Francisco, the breakeven point where it makes more sense to own is 3.7 years, Humphries says. “If you will be there more than 3.7 years, I’d say buy¬†now.”

By Kathleen Pender SF GATE

I read this article at: http://www.sfgate.com/business/networth/article/Home-buyers-face-dilemma-with-shortage-4342162.php#page-2

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.

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Sound Off: What are the biggest mistakes the buyers make? – Great Article from SF Gate

I enjoy reposting articles I find so I don’t sound like I’m shouting from my soap box all day long. ¬†This artcile, in the Sunday Real Estate section was a great read – please enjoy and if you have any questions – ask me – Info@TheCatonTeam.com or call at 650-568-5522

Q: What are the biggest mistakes buyers make?

A: In this fast-paced market, it is still important for buyers to remember the fundamentals of purchasing a home. The items listed below will always be relevant, and they are important issues for buyers to be aware of, and try to avoid:

1. Failing to read documents they receive from their lender and their agent. Buyers receive a lot of information after escrow is opened, which can be overwhelming. But it is imperative that these reports, ranging from disclosures from the seller, to preliminary title reports from the escrow company, to all the various inspection reports completed, be carefully reviewed by the buyer, and they should be encouraged to ask questions. Call on your escrow officer, inspectors, real estate agent and lender until you are completely comfortable and understand all the paperwork you have received.

2. Time is of the essence in all things real estate. There are so many people involved in a transaction, and it is important that all items requested of the buyer from their lender, or their agent, be responded to as quickly as possible. If not, a delay could cost them dearly, from an increase in their loan rate, to even losing the property by not being able to remove a loan contingency in a timely manner.

Another area where the buyer needs to move quickly is when they have identified their dream home. Hesitating a day could mean losing out to another buyer. A slow response to a counteroffer could lose the home to a more aggressive buyer.

3. A buyer’s financials must be in order, and it is most important they don’t make any large purchases during the escrow period, pay bills late, incur derogatory marks on their credit report or change jobs. Make sure to stay in close contact with a lender before making any major money¬†moves.

I read this article at:  http://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/Sound-Off-What-are-the-biggest-mistakes-the-4283038.php#ixzz2LOGh3yKt

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Can I Buy Your House Please? Great article from the Wall Street Journal

When my friend and lender Vanessa showed me this article – I was so excited. ¬†I preach to each client trying to buy a home in our beautiful San Francisco Bay Area to write a letter to the seller – just in case. ¬†It might not always work – but when it does – it’s amazing.

To read my client and friend – ¬†Tatjana and Michael’s personal experience – where the note made all the difference – please read:

http://wp.me/p1GGbd-7Z

To read the Wall Street Journal article please visit:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323482504578227703128967098.html

Got Questions? РThe Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

3 ways Homebuyers kill their OWN real estate deals…

Hello¬† again! ¬†Below is a great article I read in Inman News that I thought I would share. ¬†I truly see this often….

Got questions Рthe Caton Team is here to help.  We are a click away Рemail us at Info@TheCatonTeam.com

 

3 ways homebuyers kill their own real estate deals

Mood of the MarketBy Tara-Nicholle Nelson

I recently bought a couple of spa treatment packages for a friend’s birthday (as much as a gift to myself as to her, to be sure). The package included a pedicure and a massage for the price of the massage, but had a bizarro restriction that required I pick the gift cards up at least one day prior to spa day.

The problem: The spa was across a bridge from my town. Despite my very best calculations, I hit unexpected traffic and it took me an hour’s drive just to pick them up.

It’s a good thing for the spa that I was literally stuck on that bridge, unable to turn around; otherwise, that would have been an undone deal. I was very clear that the value of my hour far exceeded the value of those two “pedis.”

In the end, the conditions I had to surmount to take advantage of the bargain negated the value of the deal — and then some.

And that happens much more frequently than you’d think in the world of real estate. Today’s ridiculously low prices and interest rates, combined, seem like the perfect storm for finding a great deal.

But some buyers run into — or even unwittingly create — circumstances in an effort to cash in on the bargain that deactivate or diminish the full value they otherwise stand to gain from buying at the bottom of the market, for both home prices¬†and¬†interest rates.

Here are three ways homebuyers are defeating their own deals in today’s market:

1. House hunting too long. As many as 60 percent of the homes for sale in some markets are short sales. Many other listings are bank-owned (also known as real estate owned or REO) properties, and those homes tend toward two extremes: terrible condition, or so nice at such a low price they receive multiple offers.

Even the nicer, nondistressed homes on the market can end up in and out of contract over and over again due to appraisal or other lending-related issues.

As a result, it is not at all bizarre to hear homebuyers today say they’ve been house hunting for a year, 18 months, even two or three years. When you house hunt that long, you become susceptible to house hunt fatigue, which causes irrationally extreme overbidding out of sheer exhaustion.

Alternatively, it can cause you to settle for whatever house you can get, even if it doesn’t actually meet your needs — then spend the next 10 years obsessively spending to upgrade, improve, repair and furnish the place to try to make it more like the home you actually wanted.

Both of these outcomes negate and deactivate the bargain you stood to score.

To avoid house hunting too long, it’s uber-important to get and stay clear on the differences between what you want and what you need, and to work with a local real estate professional you trust.

Look to your agent to get and keep your expectations centered in reality, so you can make more strategic decisions throughout your entire house hunt, like house hunting in a price range where you’re likely to both find homes that will work for your life¬†and¬†be successful in your efforts to obtain one.

2.¬†Making lowball offers way too low. Overbidding seems like an obvious way to cancel out the bargain potential of your deal. But making excessively low offers — offers sellers couldn’t afford to take if they wanted to — can have the very same result.

Buyers who think they can operate strictly on the basis of buyer’s market dynamics — without realizing that most sellers will need to make enough to pay off their mortgage or at least receive the fair market value for their home — are cutting off their own noses to spite their faces, all in the name of trying to score an amazing deal.

Note to “lowballers”: If you don’t actually secure the home, the superlow price you offered is no deal at all.

3. Freak-outs, stress, drama and mayhem. Once was, it was mostly the buyers uneducated about the homebuying process who tended to freak out and stress the most, especially at the top of the market. These were the folks who found themselves defeated at every turn by buyers who knew what they were up against and were prepared to make their best offer on their first offer.

Fast forward, and now the norm is for buyers to spend much more time reading up on what to expect, but the inundation of information can create brand new mindset management challenges.

Almost every buyer is stressed about whether they can qualify for a loan, and about buying into a down market. Some buyers try to apply national headlines about home prices being depressed to the superlocal dynamics of their neighborhood market.

This is unwise if you happen to be, for example, trying to buy a home in the boomtown real estate markets of Silicon Valley. Others go the opposite direction and deny that the basic truths about, say, buying a short-sale listing will actually apply to them (attention homebuyers: buying a short sale usually takes a long, long time).

The emotional freak-outs that result from having your expectations shattered, sometimes brutally, in the course of buying a home often lead to panic-based and fear-based decisions, which can be costly in the short and long term. Additionally, the stress itself can take a toll on your ability to be productive at work, and can even impair your relationship with your mate, neither of which are worth any deal you think you stand to strike.

Again, managing your expectations by working with a trusted broker or agent you feel comfortable relying on to understand the market in your neck of the woods and the type of transaction you want to pull off is essential to downgrading the role emotion plays in your real estate decision-making.

Got Questions? РThe Caton Team is here to help.  Email us at Info@TheCatonTeam.com or visit our website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:  http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com/