If you’re planning to buy your first home, you’re probably equal parts excited and nervous. If you’re new to the world of real estate, you’ll find there’s a lot of new information to take in, and the simple act of purchasing a house suddenly looks a lot more complicated.
Unfortunately, without doing your research, there’s a good chance you’ll make mistakes along the way that can cause stress, waste time, and cost you money. Have no fear, however, as we’ve listed 7 common mistakes that first-time homebuyers would do well to avoid.
Skipping the Home Inspection
If money is tight, you might be looking at ways to curb the costs along the way. Skipping the home inspection to save a few hundred dollars is always tempting, but it’s also nearly always a mistake as well, and one that will cost you much more than a few hundred dollars. A home inspection is there to protect the buyer, and point out any potential issues with the home you’re planning to buy. Such issues range from minor cosmetic flaws to major structural issues, and everything in between. Without an inspection, you can never be sure what problems are lurking until it’s too late, and your dream home will soon become a nightmare when the roof collapses or the outdated wiring fails.
Being Emotionally Invested
Everyone wants their new home to be perfect, but in seeking perfection, you may become blind to very real problems that will have an impact on you later on. It’s extremely common for buyers to find a home that they fall in love with for one reason or another, and then ignore the potential problems they will encounter upon buying said home. No matter how much you love a home, if it stretches your budget to the max, you’ll find yourself struggling each month.
Likewise, if the location isn’t a good fit, for example it’s a 2-hour commute to work each day, you’ll soon find that your quality of life is impacted. It’s hard not to get emotional when searching for your new home, but try to stick to the golden rule; don’t get emotionally attached to something that isn’t yours. Take a step back, run the numbers, and think about what life will be like before falling for an adorable yard or color scheme.
Making an Unconditional Offer
Making an offer can be an awkward and uncomfortable part of the process, and for many of us, it’s hard to know where to start. A good agent can help you with this, but one of the most important things to do is to make a conditional offer. This means your offer is only valid as long as certain conditions are met. The most common conditions are the results of a home inspection and the approval of financing. This protects you in case things go wrong and gives you an escape route.
Hiring the Wrong Agent
Hiring a real estate agent is like hiring a new employee. You need to find someone who is going to work for you and do the best job they can in meeting your needs and expectations. Take time to speak to several agents, discuss their experience, recent work, and their knowledge of the market that is relevant to you. Always ensure they’re registered, and that you feel comfortable working with them. A big mistake to avoid is not hiring an agent at all!
Checking the House, Not the Neighborhood
When purchasing a new home, you need to think about more than simply the house you want to buy. It’s essential that you consider the neighborhood as well, and make sure it’s the right location for you. From commute times to who your neighbors are to local amenities to noise pollution from passing freight trains, be sure to thoroughly research the area you plan to move to, and make sure it works for you. The best advice is to spend time in the neighborhood at different times of the day to see how things are, and also make the commute during rush hour.
Holding Out for the Perfect House
The search for perfection is sadly often fruitless, though many buyers pass up on great homes because they don’t tick all the boxes. When buying a home, you have to be flexible, and you have to be prepared to make compromises. Also, make sure you know very well what are your must-haves and your nice-to-haves.
Falling for a Scam
Where big money is involved, you’ll find plenty of shady characters looking to lighten your wallet. Real estate scams are a real concern, and it’s essential to know the tell-tale signs that all is not right. Do your homework, and stay vigilant, and you should be okay.
A little knowledge is a powerful thing, and with this information, you’re less likely to make costly mistakes. However, it’s worth checking out these 8 financial blunders to avoid when buying a home as well!