When it comes time for you or you and your family to buy your first house, there’s a lot to look forward to. You get to tour potential homes, imagine your life in them, and start dreaming about how would fill them with memories.
However, homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers, often get swept up in the excitement of buying a home and are prone to making vital mistakes. It doesn’t always happen, but it’s quite easy to leave yourself vulnerable to pitfalls if you’re not careful.
No homebuyer wants to experience the suffocating feeling of being trapped in a home that is somehow a disappointment, too expensive, or laden with hidden problems.
Therefore, take a minute to read through this article so that you can avoid that suffocating feeling of despair! Check out our 10 pitfalls to keep an eye out for!
Pitfalls to Avoid when Buying Your First House
While it definitely can be, buying your first house doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, by avoiding the mistakes of homebuyers before you, it can actually be a breeze. The key points to remember is to be patient, take your time, and be practical.
1. Financial Surprises
One of the biggest causes of turbulence in any home buying process is the financial surprises that tend to spring up. You can avoid these getting pre-approved before you start shopping for your first house.
One mistake people commonly make is assuming they can afford homes within a certain range without confirmation. Then, they find a house and fall in love with it, only to learn it’s outside of their budget.
Don’t let that happen to you and your family. Get pre-approved before you even start looking at houses online. Worst case scenario, you learn that you have some work to do on your credit before you’re ready to start house shopping.
2. Buying Too Much House for Your Budget
Next, when shopping for your first house, you need to understand that there are a lot of associated costs with buying a home. For example, there are closing costs, realtor fees, and home inspection costs.
Additionally, once you have a home, there are property taxes, insurance costs, utility bills, renovations, and repair and maintenance expenditures throughout the year. All these costs come out of your pocket.
That’s why it’s important not to max out your mortgage. If you are putting everything you have into monthly payments, you won’t have any room for the extra costs of homeownership. Don’t become like most Americans, struggling to get by every month!
3. Expecting Perfection
Another mistake people commonly make is expecting to find a home that is perfect in every way. While it can happen, it’s often unrealistic, especially for people working with a tighter budget.
Make a list of priorities from most important to least important. Know where you can compromise and where you won’t. Don’t be so picky that finding the right house becomes as likely as winning the lottery and being struck by lightning at the same time.
4. Settling Too Low
Alternatively, when buying your first house, don’t set the bar too low. Whether you plan on living there for two years or 20 years, it needs to be comfortable and convenient for you. It must meet your needs.
Remember, compromise may be necessary, but don’t settle too low. Ask yourself the essential questions to determine if a home is right for you.
5. Falling in Love with a House Too Soon
Another common pitfall homebuyers fall into is getting emotionally attached to homes. Sometimes, the home buying process goes through without a hitch and everything works out perfect. However, that’s not always the case, and getting attached to a home you can’t have can be devastating.
Do your best to save your emotions and hopes for a home until after the paperwork goes through, otherwise, you will get burnt out very quickly.
6. Not Using an Agent
Some people, even those buying their first house, think they will save money by not hiring a real estate agent. While, yes, they can save money, they may also be losing out on much, much more.
A real estate agent knows the ropes and can explain what everything means. They have knowledge about the neighborhood, market trends, and know what to look for while taking tours through homes.
Realtors are also talented negotiators.
7. Not Looking Ahead
When buying your first home, use some foresight. Think about what your plans for the next five to ten years are.
Will you have kids in school? Will your job or it’s location change soon? What’s changing in the neighborhood?
These are important future things to consider when deciding if a home is right for you.
8. Not Using a First-Time Homebuyer’s Program
As a first-time homebuyer, you have special programs and loans available to you. For example, you may have the option of putting as little as 3% down on a home, rather than the traditional 20%.
Alternatively, some programs offer grants to help first-time homebuyers pay for downpayments or closing costs. Either way, it wouldn’t hurt to look into your local and national programs.
9. Not Getting a Home Inspection
Hiring a home inspector isn’t exactly cheap. However, it’s incredibly important to protect yourself and may end up saving you tons of money in the long run.
Many people choose to opt-out of paying for an inspection, especially if they’ve already paid for a couple on houses that ended up falling through. It’s understandable, but not advisable.
An inspection may end up uncovering serious damage, needed repairs, safety issues, and more. Not only would this protect you from paying for these things yourself, but it could also provide you with a significant leverage for negotiations.
10. Making Financial Moves Before Everything Clears
Lastly, when you are buying your first house, you may not know how unwise it is to make financial moves during the processing stage.
Just because you’re pre-approved and have your offer in, it doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. If you were to take out a loan, charge-up a credit card, or buy a new car before everything went through, you could end up shooting yourself in the foot.
Your pre-approval rating is based on your financial situation at the time of the approval. Even changing jobs could put the sale at jeopardy. Just sit tight until the house goes through.
If you’ve got all this on lockdown, then you’re ready to buy your first house!
We’re super excited for you, though probably not as much as you. However, please remember to stay patient and diligent about everything you do. Don’t let yourself become vulnerable to the common pitfalls of buying a home!