When you’re buying a house for the first time, it’s normal that you’ll make mistakes. So, since I’ve seen them all, and know which ones are the most common mistakes, I created this list of first-time home buyer mistakes you should avoid, and I’ll tell you how to avoid them.
Before we get into it, I wanted to let you know once again that it’s completely normal to make mistakes when you’re buying your first house.
By doing some research and getting some help, you can definitely minimize those mistakes, but chances are, there will still be things you will do differently the next time, and that’s fine.
So, you should focus on minimizing those mistakes, and making sure if you do make them, they are minor and not too important.
Now, let’s get into the biggest mistakes first-time home buyers make and how to avoid them.
First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes You Should Avoid
These mistakes are supper common for first-time buyers, and lucky for you, they’re easy to avoid if you know how. So, let’s get into them.
1. Not knowing what price you can afford
This mistake is pretty self-explanatory, but you’d be surprised how many people make it.
They start looking at houses when they think they know how much they can afford (or around how much they can afford), without actually checking and confirming. They think “This is around my budget, I’ll check for the exact number later, it’ll be fine“.
And then what happens is they end up searching for days and looking at listings, making notes of which ones they like, and after they’ve done all the work, they check, and see that they actually can’t afford most of them.
So, they end up wasting days on houses they can’t afford.
So, check what you can afford BEFORE doing any other work!
2. Not thinking about neighborhoods
When people are buying a house for the first time, they tend to only think about the house – what they wand and need in it, what price they can afford, what number of rooms it has, etc.
However, there’s one thing you also need to think about: the neighborhood.
You need to think about requirements you have for the neighborhood (how close it is to work, does it have schools around, is it safe, etc.), decide which ones are deal-breakers and which ones are just good to have, and then only look at houses in the neighborhoods that fill those must-have requirements.
That will also save you time when looking for a house. You don’t want to find the perfect house and realize it doesn’t have a school anywhere nearby and you have a kid who you can’t drive to school every day because of your job (for example).
3. Underastimating how much it costs to own a house
Another common mistake I see people make when they’re buying a house for the first time, is underestimating the cost of homeownership.
Yes, you know you have to pay the bills. But, new houses often bring new bills, such as homeowners association bills, then there’s mortgage cost, etc.
So, you should check with a real estate agent to see how much the homeownership will cost you, so you’re prepared.
4. Not knowing which market you’re buying in
Since you’re buying a house for the first time, you may not even know there are different types of markets out there. There’s buyer’s market, seller’s market, and normal market (which rarely happens).
You obviously want to buy in a buyer’s market.
So, check with your real estate agent which market is currently happening in your location, so you can decide on the best time to buy.
5. Not knowing how much repairs and renovations will cost
Another mistake many new home buyers make is not knowing the cost of repairs and renovations.
You see the price of the house, see you can afford it, and you think that’s it.
But for some houses, repairs and renovations can cost A LOT, so you may even end up not being able to afford them. So, when you’re looking at houses, do some research and figure out the cost of the repairs, so you can know if you’re actually able to afford the house or not. Ask contractors, so you know first how much each repair will cost you.
6. Making a wrong choice about down payments
When you make a big down payment, that means you’ll have affordable monthly house payments. But waiting to save up for a big down payment can make the prices go up, since they go up very often, and you might need a lot of time to save up.
So, you need to decide on the perfect balance for you personally.
But, there is a survey that shows that one out of nine homeowners under the age of 35 regrets not having a bigger down payment.
7. Not working with a real estate agent
Some people want to cut down the costs to a minimum, so they choose not to hire a real estate agent. However, that usually results in them spending more money than they would have.
Without a real estate agent, you probably won’t know what kind of market is happening, how you need to deal with mortgages, credits, and down payments, how much it will cost you to own the house, what’s the best deal you can get, etc.
So, to avoid all of those mistakes, working with a real estate agent is actually a much smarter decision.
Lucky for you, I know a great one you can contact.
Now that you know these common mistakes new home buyers make, and how to avoid them, you can start looking at houses, without making these mistakes.
Chances are, there will be some things you wish you had done differently, but that’s completely normal, and the important thing is that you think that about smaller details, and not big and important decisions.
Do your research, and good luck finding your perfect home!