Buying your first home is a big milestone and dream for many. It’s the end of one chapter of life and the start of a new one. While this is an exciting time, buying your first house can also be stressful and overwhelming.
There are many factors to consider when purchasing your first home. Making sure you’re equipped for the different scenarios that can happen is important. Here are six mistakes to avoid when buying your first house so that the process can be as easy for you as possible.
1- Buying a Home You Can’t Realistically Afford
Owning a home goes beyond simply buying a house. Most first-time homeowners become “house poor” because they don’t anticipate all of the other expenses of owning a home besides paying the monthly mortgage. Expenses such as insurance, property tax, utilities, unexpected repairs, and routine home maintenance add up quickly. Your home budget can realistically be almost double your mortgage depending on all of these expenses, so make sure you create an itemized budget to include every penny that must be paid after the purchase of your home to make sure you can actually afford it.
2- Choosing a Home With Too Many Fixes
You may be an amateur handyman, but buying a “fixer upper” even at a good price might end up backfiring. Besides the labor and material cost that goes into buying a home that needs too many repairs, many first-time home buyers neglect how much time these fixes will take. Depending on the project, some repairs or upgrades may take weeks or months to finish, which adds up to living in a half-finished home for possibly the next few years. Saving a few thousand dollars by purchasing a home that needs fixes or upgrades could end up costing you more time, money, and headaches down the line.
3- Not Using a Real Estate Agent
A reputable real estate agent is your strongest support when purchasing your first house. Real estate agents are familiar with the area, they keep up with the inventory that goes on and off the market, and more importantly, real estate agents understand the massive amounts of paperwork that goes into buying a house. You can purchase a home without a real estate agent, however, you also don’t want to get into a situation where you’re signing contracts that you don’t understand or you unknowingly purchase a house at a bad price for what the area is worth.
4- Ignoring Your Credit Score
Many first-time homebuyers forget to stay on top of checking their credit scores. Your credit score is checked at multiple stages of the home-buying process (not just once). This is especially true if you need to apply to multiple lenders. There are many free websites that let you monitor your credit score so you can make sure you’re getting the best possible loan rates.
5- Forgoing a Home Inspection
A home inspection is important for both the buyer and seller of a house. Home inspectors are trained to identify any hidden issues and problems that might need repairing. This helps paint an accurate picture of the home you’re interested in buying to make sure the seller’s asking price is fair. A home inspection is costly but so is the house you’re buying, and having an inspection done will save you money and frustration later if you end up discovering a problem in the future.
6- Poor Timing of the Process
There are two types of house buyers. Some buyers are so excited and thrilled to go house hunting and want to get the process done as quickly as possible. Then there are other home buyers who are unsure and waiver in their decision and then houses become unavailable. Knowing to balance your excitement with decision-making is essential when buying a first home so that you’re not rushing the process while also purchasing a home you want before it goes off the market.
Buying your first home is a landmark event, and knowing common mistakes ahead of time will save you money and heartache later. Avoiding these mistakes will help make the overall house-buying process smoother and more enjoyable.