experience of buying your first home often brings up a
lot of emotions. With so many new considerations and
complicated processes to navigate, itís easy to get
tripped up in details and make costly mistakes.
on to learn how to avoid making common first-time buyer
skip home loan qualification
you decide to buy a home, itís tempting to start
touring properties right away. Cheryl Grant, Realtor at
Keller Williams North in Grand Rapids, Michigan,
advises you to resist.
make your first stop a lending office. Figure out how
much you qualify to borrow before wasting your own time
and that of a seller, she says. You donít want to sign
a contract only to discover the bank wonít loan you
the necessary funds.
what you can afford
first-time buyers fail to budget properly, often
confusing what they can afford with what lenders tell
them they qualify to borrow. If you havenít yet, make
a list of your monthly expenses before settling on a
absolutely should not be looking at homes out of your
price range," says Brian Pakulla, a Realtor at
Pakulla Professionals Re/Max Advantage Realty in
Ellicott City, Maryland.
so could cause you to stretch your finances too thin or
make you feel dissatisfied when you do budget and then
start to look at homes in your price range, he says.
focus too much on the flaws
fun to dream about the items on your wish list, but some
first-time buyers have a hard time compromising to meet
their budgets. Donít let outdated features steer you
away from a house that otherwise meets your criteria. On
the other hand, donít compromise on your must-haves.
can always change the cosmetics of a house, but you canít
change the view, location or floor plan
easily," Pakulla says.
fall blindly in love
think you find "the one" and immediately
develop an emotional connection to it, never mind the
leaky roof and creaky floors. You jump to put an offer
in, but your real estate agent urges you to reconsider.
that point, Grant says take heed. Falling head over
heels for a home can blind you to its true value or
flaws that should be deal-breakers.
wait too long
housing market is competitive. If you spend too much
time debating whether to put in an offer, a quicker
buyer may snatch up the house youíve been eyeing.
first-time buyers have a difficult time moving that
quickly even if itís a good home in their price
range," Grant says. "My job is to explain how
fast you need to move in this market, but I donít make
people do anything if theyíre not comfortable. I show
them the pros and cons and help them make the right
skip the home inspection
a seller accepts your offer you may be tempted to
fast-forward the process and skip the home inspection,
but itís important to know if the house is in solid
from helping to identify any major structural flaws, a
home inspection can help you budget for future
maintenance issues. Consider it a "new home"
orientation, Pakulla says.
through the inspection to understand how your future
home operates mechanically," he says. "Itíll
have some blemishes, but youíll learn and make sure
nothing will be a major pitfall."
resale in mind
might seem preposterous to think about selling a house
you havenít yet purchased, but experts recommend
planning ahead. Many buyers donít factor in features
that could affect a homeís resale value, like number
of bedrooms or whether it has a garage or basement, or
if the home will suit their future needs, which is a
many first-time buyers say they arenít thinking of
children now, so school districts arenít a
consideration for them," Grant says.
if youíre not planning to have children, she says a
homeís location within a coveted school district often
leads to a higher resale value down the line.