Shopping for a home is exciting, exhausting, and a little bit scary, in the end your goal is to end up with a home you love at a price you can afford. This will be one of the most important purchases of your life, and you want to be sure to avoid mistakes that might make this dream come true, end unhappily. Here are some things to help you avoid making costly mistakes when purchasing your first home.
Knowing What You can afford
You want to set a budget and then figure out what you can afford. The problem here comes when the bank tells you what you qualify for, but you may not be able to really handle the monthly payment. Making a list of all of your monthly expenses (don’t leave anything out) and subtract the total from your monthly take home pay. That will be a starting point for what you can afford. You certainly don’t want all your extra money to be tied up in your mortgage payment. Be smart about what you can comfortably afford.
This is related to what you can afford. While you may have been renting, expenses such as repairs and insurance were not in your monthly budget. Now that you will be a homeowner, you are responsible for paying property taxes, homeowners insurance, and any repairs the house may need. Sometimes those repairs can be quite costly (replacing a heating/air unit). There also may be homeowner association fees that come monthly or yearly.
Being too picky
You, of course, have a wish list of what you would like a home to have. Don’t let this list rule your house hunt. You need to be able to determine what is non-negotiable for your new home and the things you might be able to change later. Remember to have a vision and look for the things that you can change in the years to come. A certain neighborhood, school district or style of house are the most important things to focus on. Most other things can be changed to make it your home.
Not Hiring an Agent
Once you are seriously looking for a home you want to have an agent to work with. Looking for a home on your own could lead to many mistakes. A qualified real estate agent is kept to an ethical rule that they must act in your best interest. Say you walk into an open house without an agent and want to work with the realtor holding the open house. You want to be sure your agent has your best interests in mind and not just the sellers.
Buying a home for the first time can be stressful and overwhelming, and it isn’t without its share of potential pitfalls. If you can prepare ahead of time what might befall you during the process you will more likely avoid costly mistakes.