Buying a home is a life experience, just like anything else, but sometimes, first-time homebuyers get more “experience” than they bargained for and end up with lingering regrets about their home purchase. Some of these mistakes are fairly common, and Inman News reporters and reporters from MSN have compiled a list of some of the most common first-time homebuyer mistakes. If you’re planning to buy a home soon, familiarize yourself with this list of common first time home buyer mistakes to avoid…
First, make sure that you are ready to buy, both emotionally and financially. Low interest rates and cheap houses aren’t a good reason to buy if you’re not ready to, and doing so can land you in a world of trouble. The market is still pretty good for buyers right now, but if you aren’t financially stable or ready for monthly mortgage payments (plus utilities, fees, taxes, etc.), then you should not buy a home. Also, it is important that you don’t rely solely on a lender to tell you how much you can afford; take time to assess your spending habits, existing debts, and income so that you truly know how much you can afford to put toward a home.
Assess your long-term needs when buying a home. Experts say that you should plan to stay in the home that you buy for at least 5 years, so what do the next 5 years look like for you? Will you be adding (more) children to your family? Will some family members be moving out? Will you have pets? Is anyone going to be working from home (and in need of a home office)? All of this to say, you need to know how big, or small, of a home you need. Moving into a home that’s too big can result in you paying too much in utilities to heat and cool your home. Moving into a home that’s too small can leave you feeling cramped, stressed, and frustrated.
If you’re considering buying a bank-owned home or a foreclosure, it’s important to be aware of any work that will have to go into repairing/updating the home. In many cases, homes that have been foreclosed upon have not been properly cared for, which could mean anything from needing the carpet replaced, to needing all major utilities, electric, gas, and plumbing systems replaced. So, while you may think of yourself as a fairly handy person, make sure that the project you’re taking on is something that you can reasonably achieve, otherwise you may run out of time, energy, patience, and money before your house can even be lived in! It’s also important to account for the costs of future repairs and upgrades when you’re looking at the cost of a home. For example, a home that needs all new flooring, a new HVAC system, and lots of cosmetic work is going to cost you more than what the sticker price of the home is.
When looking to buy a home or a condominium in a development, be sure to ask about any additional fees, such as a condominium/ homeowner’s association fee, garbage pickup fees, etc. You should also find out what the property taxes were for the home last year so that you can get a good idea of what you should expect to pay in taxes if you buy the home.
Prioritize. A great way to make sure that you’re getting everything you need from the home you purchase is to categorize amenities into a list of what you need, want, and don’t want. You shouldn’t compromise on anything in the “need” category, but you should be willing to be more flexible with things in the “want” and “don’t want” category. For example, it’s more important for a home to have enough bedrooms for everyone than to have granite countertops.