There’s plenty to think about when buying a home, and plenty of potential mistakes to be made. That’s especially true for first-time buyers who’ve not gone through the process before. Here are nine serious but common mistakes you should avoid when buying your first home.
1) Getting Too Emotionally Attached
Until the deal is done and you’re moving in, try not to fall in love with the home you’re considering. There’s so much that can go wrong in the buying process that you risk heavy disappointment if you become too emotionally attached.
But just as seriously, if you get too deep you’ll be more likely to overlook potential problems, and this could come back to bite you later on. Try and keep a business-like attitude at all times, even if you’re certain you’re looking at your dream home.
2) Not Getting a Pre-Approval
Another source of disappointment is deciding on a home only to be refused finance on it. You can minimize the chances of this happening by getting a mortgage pre-approval, which will let you make an offer secure in the knowledge you have the finance to back it up.
3) Not Budgeting for Hidden Costs
Arranging a mortgage pre-approval isn’t the end of the financial preparations. Make sure you account for all the hidden costs involved in home ownership, such as buildings insurance, repairs and maintenance, and local property taxes.
Added together, these could significantly reduce the size of mortgage you can afford in comfort.
4) Not Checking for Grants
Many jurisdictions offer grants or other forms of assistance for first time buyers. If you don’t check what’s available, you could miss out. Your realtor should be able to offer you advice on this topic.
5) Skipping the Home Inspection
Organizing your own home inspection may seem like an expense you can do without, particularly if the seller has already supplied their own report. However, if you want to avoid problems in the future, it’s best to arrange an independent inspection that you can rely on, rather than trusting in the truthfulness of the seller or their realtor.
6) Relying on Verbal Assurances
If you have any worries about the property, make sure you get an answer or explanation from the seller in writing. Don’t rely on verbal assurances, as you won’t have any comeback if things turn out badly.
In the same way, make sure any offer you make is accepted or rejected in writing. You need to know where you stand, without the risk of another buyer jumping ahead of you in the line, or the seller changing conditions with no notice.
7) Not Doing Your Research
Always check the average prices in the neighborhood, to make sure the property is broadly in line. If your potential home seems like a bargain, you need to find out why.
Also, make sure that you research any potential problems in the neighborhood, such as development plans which may impact the local real estate market.
8) Not Thinking of the Future
Even though you may plan to stay in your new home for years to come, you’ll almost certainly move on at some point. Don’t let your love of the property blind you to its potential resale value. If you buy in a neighborhood that’s unpopular, or you pay too much for an idiosyncratic home with niche appeal, you might have difficulty selling when the time comes.
9) Changing Credit Status
Lastly, once you’ve made an offer and are headed for closing, don’t do anything that can change your credit status. Don’t switch jobs, take out new loans, or even close old bank accounts. Even minor changes to your financial circumstances can lead to a mortgage offer being reassessed, slowing things down and potentially halting the sale altogether.
Buying your first home is exciting but also stressful. Avoiding these mistakes will help make sure the experience is a happy one, and not the start of something you’ll regret.