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Buying real estate is not always an easy process, especially in today’s competitive real estate market flooded with buyers. There are many stages to the transaction from securing financing and negotiating prices to closing the sale – leaving plenty of time for mistakes to happen.

A wrong move or misstep could not only delay your sale, it could come back to haunt you later. Be sure to avoid these six rookie mistakes when buying real estate or the ghost of inspections passed and more could haunt you – even after your sale is finished!

1. Skipping Pre-Approval

It would be a major mistake to skip the pre-approval for your mortgage loan. This is important because you want to know exactly how much home you can afford. It is also critical because many sellers today do not take large bids seriously from buyers who have not already been pre-approved. In fact, in today’s competitive market a pre-approval is needed if you have any hope of getting your home offer accepted. It will help you, and your offer, stand out among the sea of other house hunters and homebuyers.

2. Not Researching the Neighborhood

The neighborhood where a piece of real estate sits is going to have a large impact on anyone living or working there. Do not make the mistake of assuming the entire neighborhood is just like the block where the property sits. You need to research the neighborhood, explore it yourself, and see what it is like at night.

3. Not Hiring an Independent Inspector

If you don’t hire your own independent home inspector to look at a home before you buy, the consequences could haunt you far after the sale is finished. You should never rely on inspectors provided by the seller or another party. Hire someone who will be working for you with your best interests in mind. Independent inspectors can save you from buying a house full of hidden problems. An even graver mistake would be waiving the inspection altogether.

4. Disregarding Market Trends

Some buyers completely disregard real estate market trends. This is a mistake every time. You must learn about and track the trends in the real estate markets. This is important because it will show you when to buy and when to just wait. It also helps you to predict future property values in an area. Start getting to know the pulse of your prospective neighborhood by reviewing our local market reports.

5. Relying On Verbal Agreements

Some sellers will promise you things informally while viewing the house or signing documents. Do not make the mistake of relying on verbal agreements. If you and your seller agree to something, then get it in writing at that moment – and make sure your agent is aware so they can help keep your sellers accountable for every chandelier and home improvement promised.

6. Ignoring Professional Help

The final rookie mistake is ignoring professional help. Real estate deals are complex and have both legal and financial elements. You want to consult with professionals to make sure you are getting a good deal and that the paperwork is all in order. 

You have to be vigilant at every step of the buying process when it comes to real estate. Don’t let regret haunt your real estate decisions, work with a First Team agent to answer your questions, and get you through the process unscathed. Search for a First Team agent near you to connect with an expert who can help make sure your home sale is all treats – no tricks.

This guest post was written by Anita Ginsburg. Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO and often writes about home, family, real estate and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing. Informational credit to IRG International Realty Group Ltd, part of our extended network through Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.