Common Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Home
Buying a house is a big, expensive transaction. This is a major, life-changing decision that you’ll have to live with for years, if not decades. You can’t leap into it unprepared or ill formed.
- Skipping pre-approval. Getting pre-approved for a loan will give you an idea of your likely monthly payment and the price range of listings you should consider.
- Dealing directly with the listing agent. Remember that the listing agent represents the seller and does what’s in the best interests of the seller.
- Not hiring a real estate agent. Home buying isn’t as easy as it looks. An experienced agent guides you through the process, offers valuable advice, handles contracts, and negotiates on your behalf.
- Not researching and interviewing more than one agent. You want an experienced, ethical agent with extensive knowledge of the local market.
- Not asking questions. It’s your agent’s job to answer your questions and solve problems. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something.
- Failing to research the area. Location is extremely important, so remember to learn about the neighborhood.
- Getting too attached to one house. There are lots of houses out there, many of which will have what you need and want.
- Inability to look past the cosmetic flaws. Remember that many issues can be easily fixed. Don’t let bad paint, outdated carpets or flooring, or ugly window treatments discourage you.
- Overlooking use restrictions. There’s a lot of freedom in homeowning, but it is not always complete. Some properties may be subject to deed restrictions and homeowner’s association rules.
- Failing to save enough money. You’ll likely get a big loan, but there are still closing costs, moving costs, down payment, and taxes. Experts advise saving two or three months’ worth of mortgage payments.
- Failing to read the documents. Read all the documents involved, especially the ones you sign, such as the agency agreement, offers, mortgage documents, seller’s disclosure statement, and inspection reports.
- Not researching homeowners’ insurance costs. Depending on the type of house and location, this could be more expensive than you think.
- Skipping the home inspection. This is a big, expensive mistake. Some condition issues aren’t obvious. You should use the inspection report to request repairs and/or price reductions.