Don't Fall for Love at First Sight

Shop around to avoid missing red flags or regretting your decision.
Garage Used For Overflow

Garage Used For Overflow

A car parked in the driveway tells potential buyers that the house isn't big enough to store everything, so you had to put the overflow in the garage and park your vehicle outside. It's also distracting in online pictures, says Hans Brings, vice president of Coldwell Banker in Waltham, Mass.

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/Vacclav

©iStockphoto.com/Vacclav

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Buying the first house you look at it is kind of like marrying the first person you go on a date with -- not necessarily a good idea. The average homebuyer looks at least 10 homes over an eight-week search before making an offer. While you don't need to visit every home in the neighborhood, you should compare at least three homes before making a decision.

Here are the top 4 reasons to shop around:

You might find similar features in another home. When you go on your first showing, you have nothing to compare the home's pros and cons with. You might love the steam shower in the master bathroom, but another listing nearby might have a better -- with a lower asking price.

You'll learn more about each home's resale value. Shopping around can help you get a sense of the neighborhood, and can help you gauge which homes have been over-developed for the area. If you buy the nicest home on the block, your property won't appreciate at the same rate that the surrounding homes do, and you might have trouble selling when you choose to move on.

You'll catch red flags before you rush in. Rushing to the closing table can also cause you to miss serious maintenance issues. Finding "the surprise behind door number three" is only exciting on The Price is Right, so make sure you look in every room in the house. If any rooms are "off limits" during the showing, arrange to see them later and have your home inspector examine them carefully.

You won't wonder if "the grass is greener" across the street. Surveying your options will also help you avoid buyer's remorse. If you buy without looking at several homes, you could end up feeling as though you've made a mistake. If you still love the first house you saw after visiting a few more listings, you can be confident in your decision to make an offer.

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