Buying a home is a process that can be fraught with potential pitfalls, especially if you’re an inexperienced buyer. However, you can avoid many of the most common mistakes simply by knowing what they are. Here are a few snafus you’ll want to avoid when you decide to become a homeowner.
- Shopping before you’re pre-approved. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan does two important things for house buyers. First, it lets you know how much money you’re eligible to receive from lenders. You might not want to use it all, depending on your other monthly expenses, but at least you’ll have an idea of the price range of properties you can afford so you don’t end up falling in love with a house that is well beyond your means. In addition, however, it could give you the edge when you’re ready to buy. Say you put in a bid against another buyer that is not yet approved for a loan – chances are you’ll close the deal while the other guy is trying to get his approval in place.
- Failure to calculate associated costs. Yes, you’re going to be on the hook for some closing costs up front, but what you really need to be aware of is the fact that you’ll have to pay for property tax, homeowners insurance, and additional insurance policies (flood and earthquake, for example, and possibly mortgage insurance, depending on your down payment). You might also have to pay HOA (homeowners association) fees if you buy in a community that has them. If your mortgage payment has maxed out your monthly budget, you’re going to be in trouble when you realize you have to pay these additional costs.
- Failure to prioritize. You’re bound to have a long list of wants and needs, but it’s very unlikely that you’re going to get everything, so you need to decide which items are deal-breakers. For example, you may need a house of a certain size to accommodate your family. You may prefer a large yard where kids can safely play. And you might want to find a home in a particular school district. Or perhaps you have large breed animals (like horses or llamas) that require special zoning. These are all things that should go at the top of your priority list. From there you may be willing to compromise on other things you want, like age, style, or neighborhood, for example.
- Skipping the home inspection. This is a major no-no when you buy a home. The sale should always be contingent on the home passing inspection. Otherwise you’ll end up with an “as is” situation in which you agree to take the property without knowing what potential flaws may be lying in wait for you. Can you imagine your surprise if you discover expensive issues like a cracked foundation, a leaking roof, or other problems that will significantly add to the cost of the house?
- Choosing the wrong realtor. It’s always a good idea to ask trusted sources for referrals so you can find a reputable, reliable, and experienced realtor like Bill True Hilton Head Real Estate. The wrong real estate agent could try to sell you on a deal that’s just not right for you or fail to give you the information and advice you need to make a wise decision. So hire someone trustworthy and experienced to help you find the perfect home.