When you are new at something, you’re learning and bound to make some mistakes. That’s why it helps to do your research and hire knowledgeable experts who can help guide you into making the best possible choices as purchasing your first home is a huge investment. Make sure that you don’t fall victim to these 10 common blunders that many first time property buyers make.
1. Going with the First Real Estate Agent They meet, Because it’s Convenient
You probably aren’t going to commit to a five year plus relationship with the first person you ever go on a date with, why would you commit to the first agent you meet without examining whether or not they are the right fit?
2. Not Researching their Finances
How can you know what you can afford if you haven’t done your research? Take the time to look into your savings and checking your credit score for mistakes, before it costs you purchasing power for your dream house. Come up with a realistic budget so you know your limits and can manage your expectations based on what you can afford.
3. Going it “Alone” to Save Money
There are a number of nuances involved in real estate including: financing, buying and preparing for maintenance on your new home. It can be expensive and overwhelming. By hiring experts to protect your best interest before you make the purchase you will save money in the long run. For example mortgage brokers can help you determine important information that will help you budget, like how to qualify for tax credits or whether or not a fixed or variable mortgage is right for you.
4. Being Inflexible
Keep an open mind about how far your budget can go. The mansion with the pool might not be in the cards. A good real estate agent can help you work on your must have and nice to have lists that will manage your needs within your financial means.
5. Keeping up with the Joneses
Consider your life post home ownership. Will it include pricey vacations or fancy dinners out? What about expensive furniture or renovations? If it does, you may want to look for a cheaper property so all of your finances aren’t being funneled into your mortgage. This is your life and your budget, not anyone else’s. Remember a home should be an investment towards your future financial security, not a one way ticket to bankruptcy.
6. Thinking Short Term
When you are looking for somewhere to live remember you aren’t just thinking about your life tomorrow, or this year. Think about whether or not this is somewhere you could see yourself happy for the next five years. No one has a crystal ball, but make sure that this place will meet many of your “tomorrow” needs as well as today.
7. Focusing on Aesthetics Over Function
Realtors stage homes to make you want to buy them. They rent furniture and put cookies in the oven to entice you to buy. This is where your agent can help you see past the paint swatches and pinpoint bigger issues like knob and tube wiring or issues with the property’s foundation. Don’t let a pretty face, or living room fool you.
8. Not planning for home maintenance
Part of home ownership is upkeep. You aren’t going to be able to call a landlord to fix a leaky toilet (or roof). Before you purchase, get a home inspector and review their recommendations closely. Some will even provide you with a schedule of upkeep to help your budgetary planning.
9. Focusing on time rather than quality
Looking for a home can be time consuming and frustration. Remember the adage, Good things come to those who wait. Don’t rush an important decision that you could end up regretting because it’s taking longer than you expected. It will be worth the wait.
10. Not asking enough questions
You’ve hired experts to help you. Ask them questions, seek their counsel, that’s what they’re there for. If it’s something that’s important to you, it should be important to them as well.