Buying real estate is an exciting prospect and many people get so caught up in the euphoria of becoming a home owner that they fall prey to making mistakes that could end up either costing them big money or leave them feeling like their dream home became a nightmare. Approaching home buying with a little level headed preparation may save you from a lot of stress down the road. Here are some mistakes home buyers generally make and tips to help you ease into home ownership with as few regrets as possible.
Knowing your financial situation and financing options
Before you start looking at homes and possibly falling in love with one, ensure that you know just how much you can afford to spend and what options are available for financing the purchase. Assess of your income and expenses and talk to a qualified lender to get pre-approval for a loan. This way you will know up front what value range of properties to look at and will steer clear of those that are simply out of your reach.
Showing how much you really love the house
One cardinal sin that home buyers make is allowing the seller’s agent to see that they are head over heels in love with a property. This immediately gives him the upper hand in price negotiations and may leave you feeling that you have been taken advantage of. Reign in your excitement by remembering that any money you save in making the purchase goes towards the costs of home ownership – like property taxes, utilities and routine maintenance. Maintenance costs will depend on the age of your new home and the treatment it received from the previous owners. As for property taxes you can get an idea of how much you’ll be paying by either calling the local assessor’s office or talking to other homeowners in the area.
Going at it alone
Another common mistake is choosing to forgo the services of a buyer’s agent. Bear in mind that such an agent has an exclusive fiduciary responsibility to the buyer and to looking out for the buyer’s best interests. Interview the likely candidates to get a feel for their experience; if they have worked with first-time buyers before and what just what kind of services you can expect to get from them.
Choosing to skip the inspection
The cost of hiring an inspector may seem too much for a house that looks perfectly fine to you, but failing to have the inspection done is the number one regret of many home owners. It is quite unlikely that the seller will point out the mold in the basement or the faulty wiring.
Rushing to do home improvements
The need to make the home feel like it’s really yours may send you to do unnecessary and costly upgrades. Take the time to get to know your new home before you rush into seeking out more credit to redecorate or renovate. Make changes over time, giving yourself a chance to recover from one expense before rushing into another.
If you keep these points in mind, home buying is much less risky, not to mention overwhelming.