5 First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes to Avoid
For many of us, purchasing a home is considered a rite of passage. Becoming a homeowner is still very much a part of the American Dream. However, that dream can quickly evolve into a nightmare if you rush the process or fail to make smart decisions along the way.
First-time homebuyers are particularly vulnerable to these kinds of missteps. If you’re currently planning to buy a home for the first time, you’ll want to refer to the common mistakes below — and do everything in your power to avoid them.
- MISTAKE: Not knowing what you can actually afford
A lot of first-time buyers fail to realize that they shouldn’t just start looking at properties right off the bat. Before you ever look at online listings or attend open houses, you need to figure out what you can feasibly afford. You’ll need to crunch the numbers (and maybe even get pre-approved for a mortgage) to determine which properties will be within your price range. This can keep you from falling in love with a house that’s outside the realm of possibility, which can derail the entire house hunting process.
- MISTAKE: Not shopping around
Along the same lines of falling in love with a home outside your price range, you shouldn’t make the mistake of getting your heart set on the first home you see. Although that home could be the one you end up with in the end, you’ll usually learn a lot during the process of looking at listings. If you don’t shop around when you buy a home, you won’t get a chance to see what else is available — and that could cause you to experience buyers’ remorse later on.
- MISTAKE: Not identifying priorities and compromises
No house is going to be absolutely perfect; compromises will always need to be made when you buy a home. That said, there are some features that simply may not work for your needs and may cause you to cross a property off the list of possibilities. An important part of buying homes is figuring out what non-negotiables you have and what you’re willing to make concessions for. While the number of bedrooms may not be up for debate, you might be willing to take on a home that needs a few upgrades. Although you should be careful not to overlook major flaws when you buy a home, you’ll want to discuss which features are important to your family (and which ones matter a lot less) to narrow down your choices.
- MISTAKE: Not considering the neighborhood
You’ve probably heard the sentiment that real estate is all about location, location, location. A home could have all the features you’re looking for — but if it’s located in an area that doesn’t meet your requirements, you probably shouldn’t move forward with an offer. For example, if you have children or plan to expand your family in the near future, you’ll want to consider the quality of the school district when making your decision. Alternatively, if the length of your commute or the walkability of your neighborhood will impact your quality of life, you need to keep those considerations in mind when you buy a home. While a lot of this decision will center around the property itself, you can’t afford to dismiss the general area in which the property is located.
- MISTAKE: Not using an agent
A lot of first-time buyers believe they can access all the information they need online. And while a lot of listings are available on the internet, you’ll need more than that to successfully buy a home for the first time (or the fifth time!). Real estate agents can help you through this complex process and advise you on offers, home inspections, terms of sale, and more. Approximately 78% of recent buyers found their real estate agent to be a very useful source of information — and without an agent, you could run the risk of overpaying, purchasing a home with major issues, or allowing a sale to fall through.
Now that you know the most common mistakes that first-time homebuyers should avoid, you’ll be in a great spot to start the house-hunting process with help from our team. For more information, please contact us today.