Buying your first home should be a fun and exciting process. However, all too often buyers are not properly prepared to deal with the challenges and stress which homeownership brings. Avoid these 5 mistakes when buying your first home.
1. Don’t listen to too many people. Everyone who has ever owned a home seems to be the expert. They are not. They mean well, but are giving you advice based on their home buying experiences. I made some money on Walmart stock once, but trust me, you don’t want to get advice from me about buying stock. I suggest having 1 trusted advisor, preferably someone who sells homes for a living, who your trust. A good agent will take you under their wing and protect you. Do not commit to an agent until you know you can trust them.
2. Get pre-approved for your loan before you shop. Make sure to compare the APR on loans to know what your true rate is. Work with a reputable lender, someone who you were referred to. The loan approval process can be one of the more stressful parts of the process, so getting most of this out of the way will alleviate some pressure.
3. Don’t over buy, don’t underbuy. Many first time buyers want to buy a home like what they grew up in, but cannot afford it. My suggestion is buy an ok home in a nice area which you can fix up and turn into a good investment. Others are so concerned about taking on too much debt that they buy a home too small, then end up moving in 2 years. That isn’t good either, because you end up paying for 3 settlements (buy, sell, buy) instead of 1.
4. Get your finances in order. If possible, pay off all credit cards before buying. Give up some of life’s pleasures which have been wasting your hard earned money, and put it into your new mortgage payment. Brown bag your lunch. Make sacrifices.
5. Know the neighborhood. Drive around the area in the a.m., the p.m., weekends, etc. before making a purchase. Ask the neighbors what they like or dislike about the community. Visit the local elementary school. Check out the local grocery store. If you’re spending two hundred thousand dollars, this may be time well spent. I’ve seen buyers do more homework on the computer they are buying.