Home-buying Myths, Busted

Be sure you’re in the know with tips from a real estate duo.

Whether you’re making the move from renter to homeowner or just into a new place, the expertise of an agent can make for a smoother and informed process. Family and friends can give well-intentioned advice, but the details can get complex. We spoke with husband and wife real estate team Patrick Morgan and Michelle Skott Morgan of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who work in the Plymouth area, about the misconceptions of home buying and selling and how to avoid them.

You Can Take Your Time

Buying and selling a home can be a lengthy process, but sometimes you need to move quickly—especially if you’ve found one you like. “People will see a house online and say, ‘Well, I have to work, and then I have to do this, so I’ll just go look at it this weekend.’ But by then, the house could already have eight offers and be off the market,” says Patrick. “That’s something we always prep people for. You need to be pre-approved [for a mortgage] and have everything done up front, because you don’t have time to fall in love with a house and get burned like that.”

Finding a House Is Basically the Only Step

“People usually think, ‘Oh, I’m just going to find a house, and then find a Realtor to show me that house and then I’m going to buy it,’” Patrick says. But it’s not quite that simple. You have to get preapproved for a mortgage, find a real estate agent, shop for a home, make an offer and get an inspection before you can call the new place fully yours.

Though it’s a multi-step process, it doesn’t have to be a painstaking one — after all, a good agent will make it as smooth as possible. Erik Nymo and his wife, Pam, bought their home last spring. While the process proved complicated, having Patrick and Michelle as a resource made a world of difference. “Their knowledge and advice was invaluable,” says Nymo. “Each time we needed to sign a document, or evaluate an appraisal or go through an inspection, they were right there to explain it and often attended in person to make sure we were comfortable with our decisions.”

The Internet Is the Best Source

We live in the digital age, so it’s only natural for Google to be the first place you turn when looking for a new home — just don’t make it your only one. Nothing beats seeing a house in person. “Maybe you see a picture of a house online, but then you get there ... the neighbor’s house has six cars out front and dogs all over the yard, or Highway 100 is right there in the front yard,” says Michelle. “There are just some things that you can’t see online.”

Likewise, when it comes to selling your home, don’t rely on Zillow to tell you what it’s worth. “It’s not a local tool. It’s only looking at public records,” Patrick says. “Zillow itself says they’re off by 5 percent half the time, off by 10 percent a quarter of the time and off by 20 percent 10 percent of the time, but the average selling price for a home in Plymouth is $460,000, so off by 5 percent can mean $23,000.”

It's Not an Emotional Decision

Buying a home isn't all reasoning. “Some people will say that this isn’t going to be an emotional buy for them, but I’ll sometimes say I actually hope it is going to be an emotional buy if you’re going to live here,” says Patrick. “There is nothing cooler than walking into a house with a couple and you’ll see one of them grab each other’s hand.”

“The best part of the day is always closing day when we get to hand them the keys and see how excited they are,” Michelle adds. “Tears are a good thing—we love all of that.”