Being a first time home buyer can be overwhelming. It comes with a lot of unknown territory and it’s a big investment.
Avoiding these common first time home buyer mistakes can not only make it a more enjoyable process it can also save you a lot of headaches.
Not Knowing What You Can Afford
Once you’ve made the decision to purchase a home getting pre-approved should be something that’s at the top of your list to accomplish. Working with a competent and trustworthy loan officer will set you up for success. They will review your finances and credit and then issue a pre-approval for the amount you can afford to purchase a home for. This absolutely doesn’t mean you have to spend the maximum amount you get pre-approved for. It simply provides a guide for what your buying power is and keeps you from seeing homes that are out of your affordability range. Choose your loan officer based on recommendations from your Realtor®, family and friends. They’re an integral part of the home buying process.
Not Hiring a Realtor®
Buying a home is a big decision and it’s far more complicated that what you see on TV. Touring 3 homes and then closing on the one you like best isn’t reality. There are legal contracts, deadlines to meet, inspections, appraisals, and a lot of steps to work through before you can get to closing. Learning about different neighborhoods and what they have to offer to finding the home you want to buy is just the tip of the iceberg. Work with not only a local expert but, also someone that you trust and that you feel comfortable with. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with your agent and communicating almost daily so you want it to be a relationship you feel confident about. As with most professions, not all agents are created equal and selecting the best person to represent you is imperative.
Emotion and home buying go hand in hand but, there are emotions you should act on and others that you shouldn’t. Feeling excited or happy towards the home you are purchasing are on the good end but, on the opposite end of the spectrum is making a decision to offer on a home based on emotions such as you’re tight on time, there isn’t much inventory to select from, or because there are other offers on the property. None of those are the right reasons to enter into a home purchase. Look to your agent to be your advocate and provide you with neighborhood information, comparable homes that have sold, and to answer your questions. Trust your instincts, you will know when you’ve found the one. It sounds cliché but, all home buyers get a certain feeling when they’ve found the right home and only then should you start the offer process.
Not Having a Home Inspection
Without exception, get a home inspection. Even if you’re in a multiple offer situation and trying to strengthen your contract you can make the home inspection for information only vs. waiving it all together. Information only just means you’re letting the seller know that you will have a home inspection done but, that you won’t ask for any repairs. This protects you and your earnest money if a major problem is found and you decide to withdraw from the contract but, still gives the seller peace of mind that you aren’t going to nitpick on repairs. Waiving the home inspection is a very risky decision and not one we recommend. Even if you’re purchasing a new construction home, have your own inspection completed.
Not Budgeting for Home Maintenance Costs
Being a homeowner is exciting and rewarding. It is also a big responsibility and that includes maintaining your investment. Deferred maintenance costs substantially more than routine maintenance. It’s important to allocate money each month for home maintenance and/or repairs. It can be a good idea to setup a separate bank account that’s used strictly for savings for the future maintenance your home will need. After you become a homeowner if something breaks or needs repair it will all fall under your budget. Saving money each month will put you on the right path to always being prepared when your home needs attention.