Buying a home is one of the most expensive purchases you’ll ever make. It may seem like an intimidating process, especially as a first-time home buyer and hundreds of thousands of dollars are involved, but it doesn’t have to be.
As a real estate agent, I want to make the process as easy as possible to get the keys to your new home.
That’s why it’s essential to avoid these common first-time home buyer mistakes when buying your next property.
Not getting a home inspection.
The number one mistake I see home buyers make is passing on the home inspection. This little bit of money spent now could save you thousands in future repairs.
Don’t think that your real estate agent is going to tell you if there are problems. They’ve never lived in the home, they can only inform you what is on the seller’s disclosure, and they’re not even qualified to inspect the house. The only person qualified to inspect a property before you buy it is a home inspector.
Home inspection is one of the most important steps when buying a home. The inspector will check everything from the roof to the foundation and everything in between. Keep in mind, they’re not specialists in any of these areas, but they can point you in the right direction of a specialist that can. For example, they could let you know that there are foundation issues and recommend a foundation specialist to give you the specifics.
Please don’t skimp on the home inspection; you’ll regret it later when you have to shell out thousands for a new HVAC unit!
Overbuying – Purchasing a home outside of your budget.
I see this one all the time. Just because you can buy it doesn’t mean you should. Make sure you set your budget at a level you feel comfortable with and stick with it.
Here’s how this scenario typically plays out. The home buyers set their budget and start looking at homes within the budget. Frustrated with not finding exactly what they want, they start looking at homes outside of their budget. When they do that, they fall in love. At that point, there’s no going back. They buy the house but end up paying a monthly mortgage they’re not comfortable paying.
Be sure to set a realistic budget and stick to it. You can use my mortgage calculator to get an idea of how much your monthly payment will be; however, I recommend talking to a lender to see what programs they offer to help set a budget that is perfect for you.
Receiving only one mortgage quote.
Another huge mistake I see home buyers make is they go with the first lender they come across. But remember, the mortgage industry is a cut-throat industry, and they’re all fighting for your business. With that, make them work for you.
Mortgage rates change daily, and mortgages are more than just a percentage. There are different terms and loan programs, and not all lenders are the same.
From my experience, local lenders tend to do a great job helping the home buyer through the process. They usually offer competitive rates and reasonable terms, but where they stand out is they’ll hold your hand through the entire process. I’ve had buyers pre-qualified within minutes with a local lender I had a good relationship with.
So don’t just jump at the first ad you see on Google. Shop around for your mortgage and find a lender that you’re comfortable with. It will make closing on the home a much smoother process.
Neglecting the various programs offered to home buyers.
Speaking of lenders; Don’t forget all of the lending programs out there for home buyers. Are you a veteran of the Armed Forces? How about a first-time homebuyer? Perhaps you’re planning on buying a home in a rural area?
If you don’t know what programs are out there, you might miss out on some serious money-saving opportunities.
For example, you can put as little as 3.5% down on a home using an FHA loan or no money down on a VA loan – pending you qualify for them. Of course, you would want to discuss these options with a lender as they’ll be able to provide you with details.
Whatever you choose to do, research what programs are available and make the most of them.
Rocking the boat – making major purchase decisions right before buying a home.
This one causes the biggest headaches for all parties. When you’re looking to buy a home, especially when you’re under contract for a new home, try not to make major financial decisions such as buying a car or financing a new furniture set.
When you make a significant purchase while you’re under contract for a home, it could throw off the works and cause your lender to pull your loan application.
There are thousands of other shades of gray to this one, but if I’ve learned anything from my years in the real estate industry, it’s usually best not to make any major purchases until you have possession of your new home.
In one instance, I had a buyer get married while under contract. They were able to buy the home, but even that caused some stir in the lending process.
So if you’re planning on buying a new car, taking on any other significant debts, or even tying the knot, I highly recommend delaying it until after your closing. It will make everything go much smoother.
Hopefully, these common first-time home buyer mistakes will help you avoid making any costly decisions during the home buying process. Of course, there are exceptions. But these are based on some of my experiences as a real estate agent in Central Texas.
I’m always happy to answer questions if you have them, or I can recommend a trusted real estate professional who can help!