Buying a home for the first time can be an exciting and daunting experience. To help you avoid common mistakes, here are some of the most common mistakes made by first-time homebuyers:
- Not understanding the full cost of homeownership: Many first-time buyers fail to consider the full cost of homeownership beyond the mortgage payment. This can include property taxes, homeowners insurance, maintenance and repair costs, and utilities. To avoid this mistake, create a budget that includes all of these expenses.
- Skipping the pre-approval process: Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help you determine how much home you can afford and make you a more attractive buyer to sellers. Skipping this process can lead to disappointment and wasted time, as you may fall in love with a home that is outside of your budget.
- Not hiring a real estate agent: Some first-time buyers may attempt to navigate the home-buying process on their own to save money, but this can be a mistake. A real estate agent can provide valuable guidance and negotiate on your behalf, potentially saving you money in the long run.
- Skipping the home inspection: A home inspection can uncover issues with the property that may not be visible to the untrained eye. Skipping this step can lead to unexpected repair costs and other headaches down the line.
- Overextending yourself financially: It can be tempting to buy the biggest and most luxurious home you can afford, but this can lead to financial stress and a reduced quality of life. To avoid this mistake, focus on finding a home that meets your needs and budget without stretching your finances too thin.
By avoiding these common mistakes, first-time buyers can make a smart and informed decision when purchasing their first home. It’s important to work with professionals, such as a real estate agent and a mortgage lender, and do your research to ensure a successful and enjoyable home-buying experience.
Read below to see our list of the biggest mistakes first-time buyers make so you can prepare ahead of time!
First Time Buyers Mistakes
Spending Too Much
Before you start your house hunting, take a good look at what you make, the bills you currently have and determine exactly how much you can comfortably afford. Keep in mind, you will own more than just a mortgage payment each month. There are also taxes and insurance costs to factor in. Your utility bills might be higher if you’re moving into a larger house. There is no point in buying a home if you struggle each month to make ends meet. Even if you are approved for more than you expected… just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Buying in an Area You Aren’t Familiar With
It’s great to shop around in other parts of town. You are much more likely to find your dream home if you don’t set your geographical boundaries too tight. That said, make sure you fully research the area before you move. Talk to locals. You can even flag down your potential new neighbors and find out what they have to say about the area. Try local restaurants, walk the neighborhood, and visit at different times of the day. You should also consider the commute time. You wouldn’t want to move into a new house, only to find out traffic now adds an extra hour to your time in the car.
Not Saving Your Money
As a homeowner, you will inevitably need to make repairs on the fly. Plumbing problems, heating issues, broken water heater… these things happen all the time. However, many people aren’t prepared for these expenses. You should always keep money set aside for the “unexpected” necessities. Don’t get blind-sided by repair work. Be ready to make a major repair if necessary.
Trying to Do It All Alone
You can learn a lot online. In fact, we encourage you to do as much research as possible. However, nothing can compete with the value of a knowledgeable professional by your side… especially if you are a first-time buyer. And don’t ever go to the listing agent directly. Remember, they work for the seller and will be trying to get the most money possible for their client. It is best to find a professional who has your best interest in mind. Read online reviews and get references. Find out who your friends have worked with in the past and how the experience was. Working with the right people will help you avoid making common, first-time buyer mistakes.
Not Having Imagination
Some houses you see aren’t going to be all you have dreamed of… at least not yet. So many people are put off by bad wallpaper, or a cluttered entryway, that they stop considering the house as an option. Look past cosmetic issues, and instead focus more on the “bones” of the house, as well as location, yard, and price of course. A few small changes and a can of paint can go a long way!