We at The Hill Group love helping Phoenix home buyers. After meeting with hundreds, maybe over a thousand of them, now, we’ve noticed there are three things that cause home buyers the most stress and create the most obstacles. Here below are those three things and how we recommend avoiding them at all costs.

1. Waiting to choose a buyer’s agent. Many new clients we meet tell us they spent weeks or even months searching for homes on their own before they ever thought to contact us. On the one hand, I have to respect a person willing to do his or her own research, especially for a decision as important as buying a home. On the other hand, I wish more people knew how helpful a buyer’s agent can be during those initial weeks of researching and gathering information. In most cases, all of this assistance is free to the buyer, too!

Buyers without representation often rely on yard signs and online listings for their data. The problem with this strategy is that, of the 40,000 to 41,000 homes on the market in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area right now, approximately 19,000 of those listings are already under contract with another buyer. This means, almost 50% of the homes being marketed by yard signs and online ads in the Phoenix area right now are already sold. Buyers with representation can be given access to the local MLS by their REALTOR. This saves buyers time and energy by allowing them to focus quickly on the 21,000-ish homes still available for purchase, and not waste precious time on old news.

2. Not getting pre-approved for a mortgage early in the home buying process. If you already knew waiting to choose your buyer’s agent was a bad idea, you should also know waiting to research your mortgage loan options can be even more dangerous. You loan approval will impact everything from how much of a monthly payment you can afford, to how big of a down payment you will need, to how much additional money you will need at close of escrow for the miscellaneous closing costs (e.g., lender fees, title fees, pre-paid property taxes, homeowners insurance premiums, etc.). Not to mention the fact that some homes on the market right now aren’t even eligible to be purchased with certain types of mortgages. Rather than waste a single minute of your time on a home you may not even be able to buy, start your home search by meeting with a mortgage loan officer who can explain the different types of loans available to you and which one suits your needs best.

3. Not researching market trends, neighborhoods, crime rates, and school districts before falling in love with a house. If you plan to investigate any of these factors, we strongly recommend you investigate them before seeing any homes in person. If you know you would never live in School District A, or in an area with a crime rate above X%, looking at homes in those areas would only waste your time, and possibly cause you to miss seeing a home in School District B you would have loved. Doing more pre-work like this will narrow your options, but it will also simplify your home search in the long-run.

For more information about the kinds of conditions you should be researching during your home search, click here to read the Arizona Department of Real Estate Buyer Advisory. It’s packed with great information for first time home buyers, repeat buyers, Phoenicians, and buyers relocating to Phoenix alike.

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Image Credit: betsyweber on Flickr. CC Licensed.