First time buyers should not feel intimated by the real estate market, however, they should know what to watch out for! Buying a home is a very exciting, but one mistake could take the wind right out of your sails.
Read below to see our list of the biggest mistakes first-time buyers make so you can prepare ahead of time!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
There is nothing worse than finding the home of your dreams, only to find out you won’t be able to afford it. Sometimes getting approved can take a little work, and you want to get that out of the way before you start house hunting. It will save everyone’s time and make the buying process go smoothly. Being “pre-approved” is not necessarily a guarantee of funds until the lender has reviewed the property, however, you can set yourself up in advance for a smooth transaction by doing this FIRST.
As a first-time buyer, the process might seem overwhelming, but if you know what to watch out for, you can have peace of mind while shopping for your dream home. Remember to enjoy the process, this is a purchase you won’t soon forget!