- Whether you should “keep looking” depends on you or your market
- Don’t lead the seller on
- Communicate with your agent if you are having second thoughts
Buying a home is a lot like dating. You start out single, searching lots of different options on Match.com or Tinder, setting the criteria you’re interested in, swiping left on the ones that don’t appeal to you.
Then, you find somebody you like and ask them out. If they agree, you are now dating – doing your due diligence to see if they are really marriage material.
Even though you’re not completely committed yet, your significant other might understandably be annoyed if you spent your dating time still looking at profiles on OKCupid.com.
Now, an inanimate house is not the same as your significant other. But continuing searching for homes can still cause problems. You might second guess yourself. You might get into a “grass-is-always-greener” mentality that keeps you from moving decisively on what is a good decision.
Most agents would recommend against continuing to search after you’ve begun the contract process. There are situations when either might be appropriate, in my opinion.
Yes, Keep Checking Out the New Stuff!
In slower markets where buyers have leverage, it may make sense just to keep tabs on what else is available even as you work on a current deal. I would guess 20% of Fort Hood area deals are derailed at some point in the contract, about half or more of those during the inspection.
Having a backup favorite or a shortlist of other homes to consider and quickly move to can mean a seamless transition if your current contract favorite doesn’t make it.
A quality foreclosure or multi-family deal only comes every so often in our Central Texas market. Foreclosures especially aren’t always slam dunks to make it to the closing table, being sold as-is without any repairs considered should the inspection turn up something significant.
I recommend keeping tabs on what is going on. As an investor, you probably shouldn’t be emotionally committed to your purchases, anyway.
And of course, if you are buying multiple properties, then obviously you should be looking at more than just what you have progressing at the moment.
No, Keep Your Eyes on the Prize!
You have commitment issues
Are you a shiny-new-toy type personality? Was it hard to make up your mind when making an offer on the home? Maybe you shouldn’t complicate your life more than it is and drive forward.
If you have a quality agent who has walked you through the options, then you should trust the process. Again, like a relationship, the end result is not going to be perfect, no matter how much you are spending or how long you spend looking.
And lastly, also like a relationship, divorcing your home can be expensive, but it can still be done! Moving from your home in the future is hopefully not as traumatic as divorce, but you have that option if it really isn’t working out.
In a hot market, you may be lucky to have a contract at all as a buyer. You should be fully engaged in closing the deal and making your seller happy.
Plus, the other homes on the market probably won’t be available in a week, anyway. If you do fall back on the market, it’s time to pick up the pieces then and start looking at the new inventory that might fit your needs.
Asking Your Realtor to Show a Home
It is really bad news to a Realtor when their buyer asks to visit at a home other than the one they are already under contract to buy. It’s generally not a sign that the buyer is happy with the home they are working on at the moment, and the first tremor of an explosive breakup.
It makes perfect sense if it looks like a split with that home is imminent. But if you are asking your agent out of the blue, try having a conversation with your agent first and explore why you feel the need to look at other homes.
If a breakup is inevitable, don’t make the seller wait. Just like a relationship, it is not fair to the other party to lead them on. If this home and seller is not a match, they deserve to learn about it as quickly as possible so they can go find their own perfect match in a buyer instead of burning their time and money thinking you are going to close.
I personally don’t have a policy on whether or not I discontinue listing alerts when my clients go under contract. In most cases, it would probably be a good idea.
Contract terminations are painful for everyone, but sometimes it must be done. Do so promptly if you know it isn’t going to work out.
And feel free to continue searching other homes if you feel like you are mature enough to handle it. I’m not sure how that translates into my relationship metaphor.
In relationships, I never recommend “keep looking”. Just wanted to make that clear in case anyone got any other idea from reading this. My wife reads my articles from time to time, too, I think.