Buying your first house is a scary, yet incredibly wonderful and empowering, life-changing moment. As is customary for most big life decisions, there are a lot of ways it could potentially go wrong. Unfortunately, many homebuyers fail to do their research or really consider all the possible influencing factors that go into purchasing their first home.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the top mistakes first-time homebuyers make with the hopes that we can prevent more people from making these same mistakes!
1. Looking for a House First
This is perhaps the mistake that most people don’t even think about affecting their home-buying process, and it’s completely understandable. It’s so easy to get excited about looking at your dream homes in beautiful neighborhoods, but what about the price and what you can actually afford?
The less glamorous (yet practical) approach to home-buying begins in the bank…with a mortgage prequalification. Once all of the important financial details have been settled, you can begin your house search with financial knowledge about what you can actually afford and make an informed (rather than emotional) decision.
2. Forgetting about Additional Costs
Speaking of costs, another common mistake is not realizing all the other costs that go into buying a house. Yes, there’s the obvious mortgage payments, but there’s also closing costs, property taxes, water and electric bills, and maybe homeowners association dues.
3. Neglecting Your Credit Score
Once the closing of the house is set and the mortgage has been approved, don’t make any large purchases or do anything to impact on your credit score. “If your credit score or income levels change drastically between the pre-approval and the closing of the loan, lenders may change their terms or rescind the offer entirely,” explains an article on CNN. So hold off on purchasing that beautiful furniture for the family room and make sure all your bills are paid on time.
4. Pretending You’re on the Set of a HGTV Show
In a previous blog post, we talked about the importance of seeing past the wallpaper or other menial, cosmetic, and easily changeable features of a home. On the other hand, don’t get too carried away with the potential DIY projects and fail to factor in both time and money required then end up with a major fixer-upper and not enough time and money to invest in the fixing process.
5. Not Seeking Professional Help
Lastly, many first-time homebuyers neglect to seek the help of a professional. Having a professional on your side (for more than just the closing of the contract) is important. Look for an independent agent who isn’t the listing agent of the house that you’re looking to purchase.
Hiring an agent that’s local to the area also provides great resources not only in knowledge of the neighborhoods, but also with regards to industry-related connections, such as for repairs and maintenance. Since they’re familiar with the everyday workings of the area, a local realtor is also great for helping first-time homebuyers consider the future when looking at houses. Maybe they know about pending town ordinances that may affect you or rumored building projects that may impact your commute to work.
If you’re in the Richmond Hill, Pooler, or Savannah area and are looking for an experienced, local realtor (to help you prevent all these potential mistakes), give Maureen Bryant a call!