You’ve made a list of all the home features you want and you’re ready to buy your dream home. But first time home buyers often make mistakes that can cause major headaches and thousands of dollars in the long run. Here are 6 house hunting mistakes you should avoid:
Not having a Updated Pre-Approval
Many buyers think they don’t need a Pre-Approval until they find the home they want. That is not a good way to plan and it is a good way to lose the house you want when you do find it. We do see once in a while, a buyer thinks they can afford a certain price range and then once preapproved they find out they cannot. Occasionally the opposite occurs, they think they can only afford a lower price range and then surprisingly they find out they can easily afford more. If a buyer sees the house of their dreams on a Saturday night at 5pm and they cannot get a good pre-approval until Monday the sellers may go ahead and accept another offer. It is very important to Hire the Right Mortgage Broker. Here are two mortgage brokers who have helped hundreds of our clients over the years and have proved themselves time and time again. One is Shant Banosian of Guaranteed Rate Mortgage and the other is Jason Anker of Salem 5 Mortgage.
Not Checking out the Neighborhood
One of the most common mistakes in house hunting is not thoroughly investigating the neighborhood before buying. Don’t just drive by the neighborhood, take a walk around, ask people who live in the neighborhood how they like the area. Take a look at how well maintained nearby homes are. If you commute to work, is the home close to main routes? Test drive the commute one morning. How close are the schools, parks, churches, and grocery stores? Is the neighborhood pedestrian friendly? What about zoning laws? Will they allow industrial development near you? When you visit the homes bring a checklist with neighborhood features that are most important to you.
Don’t Get a Handyman Special if you’re Not a Handyman
People often underestimate the time and money involved in making major house renovations or repairs. Home makeover programs on television can make major renovations seem effortless. Fixer upper homes are great options for people who enjoy spending weekends making renovations and have set aside sufficient funds for them. But home buyers who don’t have the time or money to make renovations may want to search for a home that’s in move-in condition instead.
Considering a House You Can Barely Afford
First time home buyers often use their monthly rent payment as way to figure out how much they can afford for a mortgage payment. They don’t factor in other costs that come with homeownership such as taxes, maintenance, or insurance. You want your mortgage low enough to have money for savings, repairs, or even the unexpected loss of a job. Home buyers should create a budget even before beginning their home search. To get an idea of how much you can afford each month, download our Home Buyers Budget Worksheet. Watch this video for more tips on buying a home you can afford.
Waiting Too Long to Make an Offer
When you find a home that is in your price range and meets all of your criteria, don’t wait too long to make an offer. Right now we are seeing a lot of bidding wars and seeing buyers get beat out on homes they wanted because they didn’t act soon enough. The market is very hot right now. Mortgage rates and inventory levels are low, which is increasing the demand for good homes at a good price. So don’t wait or else you could lose the home and have to start your search all over again. Read our 5 Tips to winning a Bidding War.
Not Hiring a Buyer’s Agent
Some home buyers believe it’s better to work with the listing agent directly thinking they’ll get a better deal. The reality is listing agents are contractually bound to act in the best interest of their seller, not you. A buyer’s agent looks out for your best interests. They will show you homes that fit your specifications and steer you away from homes that don’t. A buyer’s agent will be familiar with local real estate market values and can negotiate a fair offer for the home. They can also help you navigate through all the legal paperwork involved in purchasing a home. Find out more about why it’s important to by watching this video on The Importance of Having a Buyer’s Agent.