In 2018, over 6 million homes changed ownership in the United States. If you’re looking to be on the purchasing end of these transactions this year, it’s evident you won’t be alone.
Buying a home, especially for the first time, is an exciting time. From hunting for your ideal (or dream) property to the time you finally join the homeowners’ club, the journey will be full of thrills.
If you’re not careful, however, it’s easy to make a mistake that you may live to regret.
Keen to avoid putting a damper on your homeownership experience? Continue reading for the most common regrets of home buyers.
Not Knowing Your Priorities
What’s your ideal home?
A single-family detached home? A townhouse? A ranch style home?
A common mistake first-time home buyers make is entering the marketing without knowing the kind of home they need. Most of these buyers want to keep their options open so they can purchase whatever property pleases their hearts.
Well, home-buying isn’t a decision of the heart. It’s a decision of the mind. You’ve to know the kind of property you want. And it’s not just about the property type, you need a good handle on the features your ideal home should have.
If you make the mistake of shopping for a home without knowing your priorities, you could buy a property that suits your short-term needs instead of your long-term needs. Or in the spur of the moment, you could fall in love with a property only to, later on, realize it’s not what you needed.
Not Getting Your Finances in Order
Maybe you have a well-paying job or your business is thriving and you have a decent stash saved up, so you’re feeling financially ready to snap up a home. It’s great if your finances are looking up, but some home buyers forget that a lot more goes into buying a home.
If you’re buying in cash, for instance, you need more money than the property’s sale price. There are home inspection costs, closing fees, real estate agent commission, and other expenses that could drive up the total price. If you weren’t ready for these extra expenses, you might find yourself borrowing from your bank or friends.
And if you’re planning to take out a home loan, don’t be like those buyers who forget or skip the mortgage pre-approval step. It doesn’t matter whether you have excellent credit and a good income, getting pre-approved for a mortgage is the only sure way to know you meet your lender’s requirements, as well as how much loan you qualify for.
This will guide your home selection process. If you’re pre-approved for $500,000, for example, you’ll know that you have no business checking out million-dollar homes.
Entering the Market at the Wrong Time
In a perfect market, we would be free to buy and sell homes at any time of the year. But the real estate market is far from perfect. There are, according to experts, certain times when it’s ideal to buy a home – and this time is spring.
Most homeowners looking to offload their homes do so in spring. Real estate sites start bustling with listings.
From a buyer’s perspective, more properties on the market means more options, and there’s a strong chance you’ll find your ideal home. Although competition for the same property might be high, there’s nothing to worry if you’ve got a skilled broker or agent on your side.
If you enter the market at the “wrong time,” say, during the winter, you won’t be doing yourself any favors. There’ll be only a handful of properties on the market and sellers will be more interested in keeping warm than negotiating with you – especially if your offer doesn’t match their price.
Failing to Do Enough Local Market Research
When you buy a home, of course, you want it to be in a nice neighborhood.
A mistake some buyers make is buying a home based on the neighborhood’s current conditions or reputation. They don’t bother to think about how it might change in the future.
For example, you could buy a home in a secure neighborhood. But what happens if levels of insecurity rise in the future? Residents will start moving and properties will dip in value.
It’s for such reasons you need to conduct thorough research of a neighborhood before buying a home. Sure, it can be difficult to forecast the future, but there are social-economic trends that can give you hints on where a local market is headed.
Skipping a Home Inspection
There are a couple of reasons some home buyers fail to do home inspections:
- Want to avoid home inspection costs
- The property is newly-built or renovated
- Want to close the deal quickly
- Underestimating the number of repairs the property might need.
None of these reasons are enough to make you skimp on a home inspection. Whether the property is newly-built or just renovated, only an inspector can give it a clean bill of health.
An inspector will examine the condition of the home’s heating and cooling system, interior plumbing and electrical systems, structural elements such as the foundation, roof, walls, ceilings, floors, and more. With this information, you’ll be able to determine whether the property is worth the price.
Also, be present during the home inspection.
Not Getting the Help of a Real Estate Pro
Real estate professionals typically charge 5-6 percent of a home’s price as commission.
Depending on your financial circumstances, you might want to cut out the “middle man.” Or you have bought and sold homes before, so you don’t need any professional help. Don’t be like the buyers who make this mistake.
Working with a real estate pro, be it an agent or realtor, will save you time and money. These pros know your local real estate market and can quickly help you trace your ideal property. During negotiations, they’ll lead the battle, ensuring you get the best deal.
Home Buyers Beware: Don’t Make These Mistakes
Nothing enhances your sense of pride and achievement like buying a home. Unfortunately, the home buying process isn’t that straightforward. There are several factors at play and it’s easy to make costly mistakes.
The good news?
This article is now your guiding light. Having fleshed out the common mistakes home buyers make, you’re in a better position to make the right decision and end up with a home you’ll love.
All the best, and if you need a professional to inspect a home you’re eyeing, look no further.