For sale signI come home and often my wife is watching HGTV. I stand in the doorway and stare. She looks up and says, "OKAY, okay... I just want to see this beach house." I suggest that we find a reality program on the workings of a large high school's office...like her job. She laughs and drools over the beach house (I do too). 
    Don't get me wrong. The real estate shows are often entertaining and often have some good info but please keep in mind... they are (fanfare...) TELEVISION!!! They have to go for ratings. 

Having said that, there is some good info here and there, and this article has some good advice, but the title is inaccurate (although the title of "10 best kept secrets..." is absolute hokum.) These are not secrets to any good real estate agent and a good agent tells clients this sort of thing up front in the process... there are very few "best kept secrets"

Unfortunately, I began this post some time ago and am now coming back to it. I actually forgot where the article was, so what do I do?? Like anyone, I google it. There are EIGHT articles on the first page of google about "BEST KEPT SECRETS " of home buying... which is rubbish that they are "secrets".

Here are the "secrets", one by one as relayed by Laura Clark with ReMax ( now please... this is an extremely good article with good advice... there is nothing wrong with it and Laura does a great job with it.  I am certain that Laura sells far more real estate than I do! She is a broker in Colorado Springs!. My only problem is with hype in the title... and if you work with me, you will quickly see that I have a large problem with "hype". You have to sell "hype" to get readers). Here is the link to the article...I'm simply looking at it through my own eyes and experience:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/10-best-kept-secrets-buying-home-hgtv-laura-clark

  • Keep your money where it is. (EXTREMELY GOOD ADVICE, ESPECIALLY FOR FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS)
    Do NOT shift your money around in different accounts, do NOT do NOT do NOT make any major purchases or open up a new line of credit before buying a home...before c l o s i n g on a home. It has an effect on your credit...and many loan institutions check credit again right before closing. After all...it is their money you are borrowing and they want to be sure you are the same, good credit risk that you were when you applied. See the logic here? Heed it. ;) You do not need to be all ready to close on your dream home, only to find that your credit score has taken a nose dive because you applied for a new card and bought a house full of furniture... yes...this happens!!! No $$$ from bank...no house for you!!!
  • Get pre-APPROVED for a home loan. (different from pre-qualified)
    Yes, yes, yes. Anyone basically can get pre-QUALIFIED ONLINE...you can fudge figures, conveniently "forget" things, etc.. If you want to be taken seriously by sellers, get pre-APPROVED. The 2 things are hugely different. Forget about giving you a hedge with your credibility with a given seller, you also have a great idea about what you can actually afford, so you do not waste everyone's time looking for properties in a dream world that will not exist anytime soon. 
  • Buying Secret #8: Avoid a Border Dispute
    You do want to know what you are buying and if the neighbor has encroached on your yard, etc. But do not expect the seller to pay for this. You can ask for a seller to pay for it in the offer, but don't expect it to be paid for. It depends...like most things in real estate on the property. If you are buying in a platted subdivision with recorded plats, then those are usually good enough for your loan to go through. A plat is not the same as a survey... surveys will often show easements and such, the location of the improvements on the lot (Buildings, driveways, etc.) and encroachments, if any. It is very easy for a seller to have forgotten that he gave an easement to a buddy so they could cut across their farm in order to get to their landlocked acreage...surveys will research these things out.
  • Buying Secret # 7: Don’t Try to Time the Market 
    Bottom line is that no one can "time" the market (remember all the market headlines by financial and real estate experts back in the deflation of the bubble??? PROOF!!). If you wait, you probably lose. If you have found the house for you, and it is priced right, ACT. Don't try to beat them up, don't try to split hairs, etc. Don't wait for the market to drop some more... if you can afford it, MOVE ON IT.
  • Buying Secret # 6: Bigger Isn’t Always Better. 
    Just because you can afford the biggest house in the neighborhood does NOT mean that you need to. The Biggest and Best house will tend to bring UP the other properties in the neighborhood, while they will bring down the value of that big one.
  • Buying Secret #5: Avoid Sleeper Costs.
    Well, there isn't a way to avoid them. They will be there. There is a large difference between owning and renting. When renting, you are not going to get the bill for property taxes, or repairs, or Property Owners Association Dues (if they apply)...but as a homeowner you will have these (and more) as a responsibility. You can't call the landlord when the water heater goes out, etc. Those bucks will stop with YOU. You need to look carefully at these items, and they need to be part of your decision making process. Rent? or Own?
  • Buying Secret #4: You’re Buying a House – Not Dating It
    One of my "up front" advisory warnings to homebuyers.."Love it, but do NOT fall IN love with it until we have negotiated, inspected, financed, titled, and closed. THEN fall in love all you want. Things can fall apart at any step along the way. You have to be able to pick up the pieces and walk away from this. This is a time to be emotionally DEtached. 
  • Buying Secret #3: Give Your House a Physical
    You would quite possibly NOT buy a used car from someone without wanting your mechanic to look it over, correct??? Then why in the name of everything you hold dear would you purchase something without having someone poke around and inspect the thing??? EVEN IF IT IS A NEW HOUSE!!!
  • Buying Secret #2: The Secret Science of Bidding
    There ARE actually some secrets here, and this comes with each market. Being in Colorado Springs, there is quite possibly much more bidding than goes on here in HOT Springs, but it still happens. Your offering price should be a decent offer that reflects the market. Trying to low-ball the seller will possibly get you rejected with a note to your agent to NOT bring any more offers. Emotions run high with many sellers. Your offer needs to be based on comps for the home and what you can afford. DO NOT get caught up in an emotional bidding war. (see #4 above!!!)
  • Buying Secret #1: Stalk the Neighborhood
    It is a good phrase. Drive blocks in each direction, look for things that arouse your suspicions or make you feel uneasy. Are properties being kept up? Are vehicles in the neighborhood in good repair? Is there junk piled up (Hmmm...I better not let my wife see this one as I'll have a honey-do list). Agents cannot comment on a "safe neighborhood", so it is up to the buyer to do that due diligence.

So there you have 10 great topics to think about, according to one author. Secrets? Not really, if you use a real estate professional to guide you through the process and the "pre-process"

Like I said, there are loads of "secrets" floating around the net. I might just come back and de-classify some more for ya!!

Please understand that this post IN NO WAY was ever meant to take away from Laura Clark's great post on Linkedin. Markets are different. 

Have a great day!