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:
1. 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. How well maintained are nearby homes? If you commute to work, is the home close to main routes? How close are schools, 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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. In 2014 we’re seeing more and more 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.
5. 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. But 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 hire a buyer’s agent when buying a home.
6. Not Getting a Home Inspection
Don’t rely on the seller to let you know about problems with a home’s structure. It’s up to you to know everything about the home you’re buying, which is why it’s so important not to skip the home inspection. Have a full inspection of the home’s plumbing, heating and cooling systems, electrical systems, foundation, and roof. This is a great way to avoid unexpected repair costs in the future. See more reasons on why you should get a home inspection.
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