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Among life’s great bureaucratic challenges, the process of buying a home can feel especially tedious. And while we can’t take the actual legwork off your hands (sorry, sisters), what we can do is dismantle old industry myths that’ll do ya more harm than good during your search. Below, two industry experts weigh in on the home-buying fallacies you need to look out for.

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I know what I can afford. I’ll talk with a lender when I find a house I like.
“This is pretty common and absolutely incorrect. Unless you’re paying cash for a property, the very first thing you need to do is talk with a lender. The way a bank calculates your buying power is all that matters, so make sure you know what the bank thinks you can afford before you waste time looking at properties beyond that.”

The seller is unrealistic about his price. I like the place but it’s not worth submitting an offer.
“Everyone looks at pricing properties differently. Some sellers think asking for 10 percent or more over the value is a good idea in order to “leave room for negotiating.” Some sellers price their homes right where they think it’s true value is. The only way to find out what a seller really feels about the value of the home is to submit an offer and see if/how they counter.”

Once the ink dries on the contract, there’s no turning back.
"This is a pretty popular myth, which is very wrong. There are attorney review periods, during which you can get an inspection on a property to make sure it’s in good shape. There is also a mortgage contingency on most deals, which protects you from losing any earnest money you put down to solidify a contract. And this is where a good attorney really pays off. Bottom line: There is turning back!”

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Shopping for rates will hurt your credit score.
“You can shop around with multiple lenders within 14 days or 30 days, depending on the scoring model used, without multiple inquiries to your credit. Do all your rate shopping before signing your purchase agreement to avoid delays, rate change or cancellation."

Using the listing agent will for sure get you the home, or a discount or better deal.
“Just because the listing agent has an established relationship with the seller doesn’t mean they’ll favor you over the other buyers, especially in a multiple offer situation. It’s crucial to hire an agent who will fight or crusade for you and look after your best interest.”

You have to cover closing costs out of pocket.
If you’re short on funds and cannot afford to pay the closing costs, in some cases, you can ask the seller to cover a portion of the closing cost amount by adding it on top of your net offer (as long as you don’t go over the approved loan limit). Another way to handle this is by increasing the interest rate. Choosing the latter will cause the monthly mortgage payment to be slightly higher, but will allow you to get the house and pay the closing fees.”

Your first purchase must be your dream home.
“Your budget dictates where and what you can buy, and while it may not meet all the criteria you envisioned, remember that it’s a stepping stone for equity and that is the big picture!”

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