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Is Bad Advice Ruining Your House Hunt?

real estate advice for house hunting
Learn to separate the good advice from the bad with these four tips.

There are certain times in your life when you receive copious amounts of unsolicited advice — when you’re getting married or having a child are often triggers for well-intentioned (but sometimes unwanted) advice. So it may catch you off-guard when you mention you’ve started searching for homes for sale in Boston, MA, or Austin, TX, and find yourself once again on the receiving end of that unsolicited advice.

Whether it’s your wedding invitations, the latest research on gluten-free baby food, or in this case, house-hunting advice, the trick is distilling the good advice given to you from the bad and then using it in a way that makes sense. Here’s how to save your house hunt from being sabotaged by bad real estate advice.

1. Consider the source

Who is this real estate advice coming from? If it’s from your licensed and experienced real estate agent, chances are good it has merit. If it’s secondhand from your second cousin, it may not be as valuable. The trick is separating the good from the bad.

Ask yourself, has this person ever bought a house? Are they familiar with the neighborhoods you’re looking at? Are they an architect or a carpenter with knowledge of this era of home craftsmanship? Find a reason why they may have extra knowledge. Sometimes it’s obvious; sometimes it’s not. Don’t be afraid to continue the conversation and go deeper to understand the bigger picture.

2. Decide to apply it — or not

Good advice quickly becomes bad advice if it’s used in the wrong context. Once you’ve established that the advice has merit, you need to figure out if it applies to you.

To do this, be mindful. Maybe the advice is coming from your real estate agent, but do they usually work with people who are close in age and income bracket to you? Your coworker is your age and in a similar income bracket, but do they have three kids while you have none? Did your friend buy their house because they want to reap the rewards of an up-and-coming neighborhood, whereas you’d rather buy a home in an already-established neighborhood? Take a step back and compare your situation with the situation of the advice provider.

3. Fake it but don’t take it

If the advice you’re getting just isn’t for you, just skip it. You’re not obligated to follow anyone’s directions but your own. Smile, thank them, and move on. Your home will be a big investment, and you’ll quite likely live there for years, maybe even a lifetime. Don’t consider buying the wrong home because you felt as though you should heed anyone else’s advice.

4. Be ready to backtrack

So you thought you wanted to buy into an HOA community as your parents advised, but maybe one look at the covenants, conditions, and restrictions for your potential neighborhood had you peeling out of there. If what previously sounded like great advice turns out to be counterintuitive to your house hunt, don’t be afraid to change course. There’s no shame in changing your mind or your tactics when your current plan isn’t working — even when you’re following real estate advice from an expert source.

What’s the best — and worst — real estate advice you’ve been given? Let us know in the comments below!