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6 Common Mistakes That First Time Homebuyers Make

Buying a home is an exciting and complex process. It can also be stressful, especially for first-time homebuyers who may not be familiar with the details of real estate purchasing

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To ensure your experience goes as smoothly as possible, avoiding some of the most common mistakes first-time homebuyers make is important. 

From failing to get pre-approved for a loan to overlooking hidden costs associated with homeownership, here are six common mistakes you should avoid when buying your first home.

1. Failing to get pre-approved for a loan

Not putting in this extra effort at the beginning of your buying journey can cause heartache down the road. Without a pre-approval, a buyer doesn’t know their entire house-costing budget, and could view homes out of their price range and become discouraged when lenders deny them at closing. 

To avoid this kind of budgetary chaos, taking the proper steps immediately and applying for loan pre approval before beginning the home search process is essential. 

Look for honest advice from experienced agents and commit yourself to performing substantial research into various lending sources and payment options.

2. Not researching the area surrounding the home

When searching for a new home, many buyers focus solely on the property itself, forgetting to consider what’s surrounding it. Research the neighborhood and its amenities before purchasing a home to make sure you feel comfortable with its location and that it fits your lifestyle needs. 

From schools and parks to restaurants, stores, and accessible transportation, all of these factors should be considered when researching the area. 

Visiting the neighborhood before buying is also highly recommended, as this could give an insight into what it would be like living there daily and gaining first-hand experience of its atmosphere.

3. Forgetting to consider closing costs and other homeownership fees

Many first-time buyers overlook homeownership costs that go far beyond just the down payment for the house. Think about all of these fees before signing on the dotted line, so you aren’t bombarded with financial surprises.

Closing costs such as legal fees, title insurance, real estate taxes, and home inspection fees can add up quickly, so having a budget for these expenses is a big deal. 

Don’t forget to factor in the costs of homeowners insurance and any homeowner association dues that may be required.

A woman wearing a hat and standing in an apartment. First time homebuyers need to ensure they avoid certain mistakes.
Source – Unsplash

4. Overestimating how much home you can afford

It is easy to get carried away with the excitement of becoming a homeowner and forget about the financial realities of the situation. Ask yourself, “How much mortgage can I afford?”

Before even looking at properties, setting realistic expectations about how much you can spend and what kind of mortgage payment you can afford is essential. 

This will help ensure that your purchase is within your budget and that you avoid overextending yourself.

5. Underestimating maintenance and repair costs

Congratulations on buying your first house. You are now responsible for maintaining and repairing the property. 

This includes everything from regularly scheduled maintenance, such as lawn care and gutter cleaning, to unexpected repairs due to wear and tear or natural disasters. 

Creating a budget for these costs before signing on the dotted line can help ensure that money is set aside for unexpected expenses.

6. Skimping on a home inspection

Though it may seem like a minor expense at the time, skipping out on a home inspection could become one of the most costly mistakes first-time buyers make. A thorough home inspection performed by a certified inspector is essential to understanding any potential problems with the property and protecting yourself from future liabilities. 

From checking for mould and water damage to examining electrical and plumbing systems, a home inspection can uncover significant issues just not visible to the naked eye. Taking the time to inspect before signing on the dotted line is highly recommended and could save thousands of dollars in repairs.

Mistakes first-time homebuyers make – Conclusion

By doing the necessary research and being aware of common pitfalls like overlooking closing costs and underestimating maintenance expenses, first time homebuyers can ensure that their homeownership experience will be filled with confidence rather than regret. 

Taking the extra steps, such as getting an inspection before purchase and visiting the neighborhood beforehand, are small details that could make all the difference in finding a property that suits your lifestyle needs and budget. Good luck!

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