4 Common Mistakes Every Home Buyer Should Avoid
Like many other important decisions in life, the experience of selecting a home and making an offer on it should not be one that is taken lightly. In most cases, prospective buyers who take the time to make sure they are well prepared for the responsibilities of home ownership are able to enjoy a better buying experience.
But each year, some home buyers continue to make common mistakes that cause them to endure delays or even failures in closing on the home of their choice or cause them to later regret their decision to purchase a home at all. If you are entering the real estate market as a prospective home buyer and would like to make your experience a positive one, take a moment to learn about these mistakes and how you can avoid them.
1. Stretching the Budget Too Far
One of the most common mistakes made by home buyers is falling in love with a home that is priced higher than they can afford. Looking at homes that will not work for your needs is typically time wasted that could be used looking at other, more realistic options. When buyers do make an offer on a home that they cannot reasonably afford, they are putting themselves in a position where making the monthly mortgage payment is a financial struggle that takes the joy out of home ownership and raises the chances that they will end up in foreclosure in the future.
To avoid this, take time to work with a reputable lender before beginning your home search. Depending on your current financial situation, they may be able to grant you mortgage pre-approval, giving you a better idea of what price ranges you can search for. Keep in mind the limit they give you is not always an amount that is comfortably affordable, however.
2. Overlooking Repair Issues
Buyers who decide they simply must have a home may experience a lapse of judgment when faced with the discovery that the home requires many serious repairs. When this happens, buyers can be tempted to accept the home in its current condition or agree to a small discount in price from the seller to offset the cost of the repairs.
Since home repairs often grow in scope during the actual repair process, this mistake can leave buyers financially responsible for any additional cost incurred after the work begins. To avoid this mistake, buyers faced with home inspection issues should be willing to delay the closing to give the seller time to correct the issues, or acquire liberal estimates for both the cost and timeframe of each repair and negotiate accordingly - or even back out if the problems are simply not worth it.
3. Not Considering Additional Costs
Buyers who think only in terms of the mortgage principal and interest payment as the cost of living in a home are likely to incur financial pain when other costs of home ownership become apparent after the sale. To avoid this type of painful financial mistake buyers should carefully weigh all costs associated with owning each home they are considering before making a final choice.
These costs include:
- monthly mortgage and interest, including PMI, if applicable
- closing costs and moving expenses
- annual property taxes, insurance, and HOA fees
- heating and cooling costs
- fees for water, sewer, and electricity usage
- maintenance and upkeep
4. Not Using the Services of an Agent
One of the biggest mistakes some buyers make is taking on the home buying process alone. Buying a home is a complicated process and without the knowledge and experience of a qualified real estate professional, buyers can be at risk of experiencing delays in closings, paying too much, or missing out on a great home. To avoid this, buyers should choose to work with a reputable, proven real estate professional who specializes in the area where they want to buy.