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Home Buyers’ Biggest Mistakes and Other Traps to Avoid

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By Kathleen Lynn

Homebuying_agent_family(MCT)—Marianne Cusato’s new book “The Just Right Home” (Workman, $12.95) deals with a question that’s more complicated than it might seem: Where should I live? The book mixes personal finance advice, self-help and tips for navigating the real estate market. At a time when the economy and housing bust have made it tougher to get out of a place that’s not right for you, it’s more important than ever to pick the right home, Cusato says.

Cusato spoke recently about how to make the best housing choices. An edited transcript follows:

Q: What are some of the most common mistakes people make when buying a home?

A: They look inside a home and they read off a checklist: “It has this, it has that, it’s got the granite and the stainless.” But we don’t think about the experience of living there and how that’s really going to touch everything we do in the day.

Another mistake is buying a house for resale. In reality, if everybody just bought the house they wanted, unless they have really extreme needs — like they love that orange tile or whatever — if you pick what you want to live in, most likely that’s going to be a really good house for resale.

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