15 Most Expensive Mistakes You Can Make When Buying or Selling a Home

When it comes to buying or selling your home, what you don't know can cost you. To avoid this, check this list  of 15 of the biggest real estate mistakes made by both buyers and sellers. Paula Pant, AOL Real Estate, came up with this list, read it so that you won't make any of these mistakes in your next real estate transaction. 

On the buying side:

Not researching the neighbourhood: Is this the place you really want to live? How is the school district? What does the traffic and street activity look like when you drive by at different times?

Not getting an inspection: This is one of the biggest investments you will ever make, make sure you know exactly what you're signing up for.

Buying (or not buying) based on decor: Paint colour can be changed. Tiles and cabinets can be changed. What you want to look at are the bones of the house. Will it meet your needs? Does it flow well?

Buying the priciest home on the block: This isn't a good deal and will only depreciate over time AND you might have trouble selling it, as buyers can see plenty of more reasonably priced options in the same neighbourhood. 

Being unrealistic with your budget: Just because you may qualify for a $800,000 mortgage, that doesn't mean you can afford it. Be real and only look at houses you can realistically afford.

Being unrealistic about your DIY abilities: Will you really want to tear down that wall to make a master ensuite or gut the kitchen to make it work for you? Don't let HGTV drive you to buy and ongoing project you'll regret taking on. 

Making a tiny down payment: If you can't put 20% down, you'll face CHMC Mortgage Loan Insurance and premiums on top of your higher monthly mortgage payments. It may be worth saving up for an extra year or two to reduce your long-term costs. 

Buying when you're not ready: Are you ready financially, but also, emotionally? Are you sure you want to stay in this area for years? Does your income feel stable? Are you prepared to take on all that yard and maintenance work you avoided as a renter?

On the selling side:

Not keeping resale in mind when renovating: The custom changed that make your house better for you may not appeal to potential buyers. Make sure any big changes you make will increas, rather than decrease, your home's value.

Sticking around during the open house: No one wants the current homeowner hovering over them as they tour the house - it's a lot of added pressure and can prevent them from giving the honest feedback that could ultimately help you sell your home. Go out for lunch and let your Realtor handle showings. 

Waiting to list til warmer weather: Yes, most people house hunt in the spring and summer, but that's also when most people list their homes. List yours when it's available and you'll reach those buyers who need a home now and aren't finding much on the market. 

Setting the price too high: What your home is worth to you and what it's worth on the current market can be vastly different. Take a good look at comparables in your area and and make sure you're being realistic about your home's value. 

Not doing enough marketing: Just putting a "For Sale" sign isn't enough. Talk to your Realtor about other options, like online listings with virtual tours to attract buyers who aren't looking in the paper.

Not getting a real estate agent: Unless you've had plenty of prior experience, going the "for sale by owner" route is probably not a smart bet. Realtors can give you crucial insights, marketing, and can get your property on MLS, which will get you infront of other agents.

Not staging your house: You need to help buyers envision themselves in your home. This includes removing any clutter and personal items and making sure furniture flows well and demonstrates the purpose of each room.