Written By Joe Houghton
Buying your first home can be a lot of things: exciting, responsible, an investment in the future. It says, “I am a grown-up.” However, the experience can also be frustrating. It will be scary and complicated and, at times, humbling.
Accepting the fact that you will probably experience every emotion you have ever had and a few you didn’t know existed is half the battle. The other half is identifying the most common mistakes other first-timers make that often result in buyer’s remorse, and avoiding those. Doing both can make you the belle of the first-time homebuyers ball.
Mistake 1: Not Working with A Real Estate Professional
The competition among first-time homebuyers for desirable properties is fierce. Multiple offers, full-price and above offers, and bidding wars are common occurrences in today’s market. The reality demands expert advice and representation, not a lone wolf scenario. Research and interview buyer’s agents. When you find the one that checks off all your boxes, engage him and trust his advice.
Mistake 2: Not Being Ready To Make An Offer
If you do not have a preapproval from an accredited lender in your hand, you are not ready to make an offer. You also do not know how much you can afford. If you are not prepared to move fast on a desirable home for sale, you lose. As a first step, gather your financial documents, and shop lenders for the best rate and terms. If you need some recommendations, that top-notch real estate agent you are working with can connect you.
Mistake 3: Not Knowing What You Want To Buy
Several factors should be under consideration as you decide what type of housing you want and where you prefer to live. Lifestyle will have a strong influence on whether you should be an urban dweller or settle down in the ‘burbs. If children are part of your future or you currently have a family, schools should be a consideration. Would you be happier in a condo, townhouse or single-family home? How long are you planning to live in the house before you sell it? Is your commute to work reasonable? Are services like shopping, entertainment, and parks and recreation convenient? It’s important to answer these questions early in the process because they will be the guideposts to where you focus your home search.
Mistake 4: Not Accepting The Reality Of The Market
Many first-time buyers have a home wish list that is not compatible with the type of property they can afford to purchase. They also do not distinguish between a “need” list and a “want” list. Needs are the number of bedrooms or baths and location. Features like hardwood floors and granite counters are wish-list items.
A first-time homebuyer who refuses to compromise is bound to face disappointment and frustration. Keep in mind that the first home you buy is not generally your dream home. It is only the initial step of the journey to that prize.
Mistake 5: Becoming Impatient And Settling Too Quickly
While some buyers are too picky, others are willing to compromise too much too soon into the search. It is rare in today’s market for a first-timer to find and successfully bid on a home in a few weeks. For most, it is a process that takes months. So don’t sacrifice that third bedroom if you need it, and don’t move into the far suburbs if being in the middle of urban life is essential to you. Settling too quickly is a common cause of buyer’s remorse, something not on anyone’s bucket list.
Mistake 6: Failing To Do A Home Inspection
Today, it is not unheard of for buyers to opt to skip this vital step in hopes of putting together a more competitive offer on a home. Here I would defer to the advice of your agent, because every property and situation is different. But, be advised there may be a very serious flaw that will go undetected and result in costly repairs in the future. Instead of passing on an inspection, consider having it done in a shorter time frame than the accepted norm.
Do your research. Arm yourself with knowledge. Embark on this exciting journey toward homeownership with a competent real estate professional by your side, and you should be able to avoid most of the common mistakes other first-time buyers make.
Thanks for reading!