2016 will undoubtedly stand out as a dumpster fire of a year. A country divided politically. Samsung’s exploding phones. A slew of beloved celebrities dying unexpectedly. And if you were trying to buy, sell, or improve your home in the middle of all that—well, that’s been pretty stressful, too.
Luckily, we were here to (hopefully) make it easier and help 2016 go a little more smoothly. We’ve been busy chatting up our expert sources and tracking down the most reliable insider info to give you the very best advice you’ll find anywhere on buying, selling, financing, home improvement, moving, and renting.
Here are the 10 advice stories you viewed, shared, and discussed the most in 2016—and some can’t-miss takeaways from each.
You know that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you realize you should’ve kept your big mouth shut? One of the worst times for this to happen is in front of the sellers of the home you’re trying to buy.
Example: Why, oh why, did you blurt out, “I can’t wait to get rid of that!” while pointing at a treehouse in the backyard that was probably a treasured feature?
Yes, that clearly wasn’t a cool thing to say aloud. But there are plenty of less obvious things that could seriously jeopardize your chances of closing on the house of your dreams. And we listed all of them!
Can’t-miss tip: Never ask the sellers why they’re selling. There may be personal reasons like divorce or job relocation or something worse—and none of it is your business. Don’t risk opening a can of worms.
Yep, home sellers also come down with some bad cases of foot-in-mouth disease. They can put potential buyers on the defensive—and the transaction at risk—by saying the wrong thing. Of course there are details you have to disclose to buyers (potential natural hazards, termites, if someone died on the property), but you shouldn’t feel like you need to confess your entire history in the house.
Can’t-miss tip: Don’t ever tell prospective buyers, “We always wanted to fix/renovate that, but…” That only alerts the buyers to more potential costs. They might not have even thought of making a change, so why plant the idea?
We’ll admit it: We’ve heeded bad advice, too. It’s easy to do when you’re not familiar with a topic, or it’s something as convoluted as mortgages. Unfortunately there’s always going to be people out there speaking like experts and touting information they don’t actually know to be true.
As a service to you, dear reader, we waded deep into the B.S. so you don’t have to! (You’re welcome.) We brought you a definitive list of the most popular bogus pieces of home financing advice, and why you should run the other way if someone tries to tell you otherwise.
Can’t-miss tip: You might hear someone say, “Borrow as much as you’re approved for, even if you don’t need it,” but this isn’t particularly prudent. Because you never know when life might pitch you a financial curve ball, it’s best to stick to a monthly payment you’re comfortable with.