5 Biggest Home Buying Fears this Fall (and How to Face Them)

These 5  Home Buying Fears can be Readily Overcome this Halloween Season.

Home Buying Fears in Madison WI

These home buying fears sometimes hold house purchasers back from buying a new home — not just around Halloween, but sometimes all year long. The frightening thing is, these feelings of unease are sometimes justified.

Here are some of the issues that commonly keep home buyers up at night, staring at the ceiling. Importantly, here is what you can do about them.

Home Buying Fears in Madison WI - Haunted House

1. “The house has a leaky basement, holes in the siding, or leaks in the roof”

It is common for a home buyer to be thinking about remodeling or repairing the new home that is purchased. Once an ideal home is found, a home buyer often starts to wonder what might be wrong with it.  Are there hidden issues to be aware of?  Needed repairs that are unforeseen? What if the house has a leaky basement, holes in the siding, or leaks in the roof? Inspections should help you discover these items and you can deal with them before closing.

Most homes will need routine maintenance, and a good inspector will point this out. But it’s important not to let your fears get the best of you. Much of what the inspector comes up with during the inspection is for informational purposes only. There may be some items that are critical to address, while others can wait or be handled in the future when a replacement is warranted.

The inspector’s job is to point out every potential issue he sees in the house. Some items need immediate repair or replacement, while others can wait. Ask him to explain how bad the issue is, and how long it can go before needing replacement or repair.

If an issue arises that needs immediate attention, this is a great time to renegotiate your offer price. You will have real information to go back to the seller and see if they will repair or credit you for the costs of fixing the identified items.

Home Buying Fears in Madison WI - Earnest Money

2. “I’ll lose my earnest money”

Buyers typically put in a deposit with a signed contract. Often, this is 2 percent of the purchase price. This money often goes to the listing broker’s trust account or the title company chosen for closing’s trust account. Ultimately, the money sits in an escrow account and can’t be released without both parties’ signatures.

It is very difficult for a buyer to lose their deposit. If you have an inspection, disclosure review, loan contingencies, or any other number of contingencies, you will likely have an opportunity to walk away from the home purchase and receive your earnest money back. For such a significant purchase, you should of course work closely with an excellent real estate agent to mark those timeframes.

If you need to remove these contingencies in writing, make sure you do so before the stated deadlines. If you are working through a contingency, be sure to extend the contingency date to keep yourself under contract. Try to work through these items as soon as possible so that deadlines do not arrive too soon.

Home Buying Fears in Madison - Dream Home

3. “I’ll lose the home of my dreams”

The third concern in our home buyer fears list can be very emotional. No one wants to lose their dream home opportunity. If you find the perfect house, you may have to move quickly. In really hot markets, many homes receive accepted offers before the first open house.  In these situations speed and efficiency are paramount to your success.

This is another reason to find and work with an exceptional agent so that you get to see the deals first.  In hot markets, you need to see opportunities before they hit the public websites like Zillow, and fast acting agents can do so by setting up alerts in the MLS systems.

Try to make an appointment to see the home as soon as possible, but also be prepared to make an offer before seeing the home.  Remember, with your contingencies, you will still likely be able to walk away with your earnest money. A skilled agent can craft contingencies that put you in control, while still making the offer appealing to the seller.

A good listing agent will set accurate expectations with the home seller.

Have your agent find out how the seller’s agent plans to handle any offers received. Oftentimes, the seller and the agent will have an offer date to review offers or ask for best and final offers by a certain day.

But remember, if the listing agent has set solid expectations, and an offer comes in that meets those expectations, the listing agent will often coach the seller to take the offer immediately.  You should make a winning offer.  A solid buyer’s agent will have a great understanding of what the home should sell for too and will be able to coach you on making the best offer.

If you travel a lot or are away from your desk, you may still need to make quick decisions. Be sure not to miss out on your perfect home by authorizing your agent to work quickly on your behalf. Be ready to communicate constantly with your agent.

Home Buying Fears in Madison - I won't look out for you

4. “My agent won’t look out for me”

This is a valid fear.  There are real estate agents that look out for their own best interests and not yours. It is a very sad reality in real estate. We have found it to be one of the top reasons that home sellers and home buyers are cautious about working with real estate agents.

In some cases, an agent will put their own interests first because they are just trying to make the money to pay their bills and take care of their families.  An easily justifiable reason in their minds. In worse cases, some agents are simply greedy and lack a moral compass.

In fact, Zipi Wiki was founded to remedy this one fear that home buyers and sellers face.  We are just like you. We want honest, hardworking, professional, likable agents to help us buy and sell our homes too.

How to find the best agent for you

Our solution to this age old dilemma is straightforward. To find and hire the best real estate agent, you should do the following:

  1. Find real estate agents that are selling more homes, just like yours, in your neighborhood.
  2. Qualify them based on actual customer reviews and recommendations.
  3. Interview at least 3 of them so that you can find a great fit for you.

If you browse services like Zillow.com you will notice they have agent finder services too.  The agents you see recommended are paying to be recommended to you.  These are not neutral, unbiased recommendations like Zipi.Wiki recommended Realtors. Even highly rated agents on places like Zillow may not be the best agent for you. They may specialize in high end condos, or first time buyer neighborhoods, or luxury homes only, etc. It is essential to work with an agent that knows your home type. This holds true for both Buyer’s Agents and Listing Agents.

Home Buying Fears in Madison - Clock Ticking

 5. “We won’t find our house in time for…”

School… a job relocation…the sale date of our current home…

There are many reasons we move. Some foreseen and others for unexpected reasons.

To address the last of the home buying fears, sketch out your game plan with your real estate agent. Coordinate the timing of these transactions as best as possible.  It is all the more reason to work with qualified agents.  A Buyer’s Agent Specialist will help you find and negotiate a great purchase opportunity. There can be several competing offers when the market is hot.  On the flip side, if you are selling your home, an expert listing agent will also set up accurate expectations for your home sale price as well as the likely time horizon for closing on the sale.

In conclusion, you can eliminate these fears during this Halloween Season through proper preparation and planning. In addition to proper planning, you can blast your fears away and have an amazing experience by hiring the right realtor.

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About the Author

David Haug is a Madison WI real estate agent. He is passionate about helping clients, customers, and friends succeed in residential real estate. He is also a raging Badger fan. #OnWisconsin Baby! Connect with David on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidnhaug/