We’re going to say it: buying a home can be a nerve-wracking experience. That’s perfectly understandable; it’s a high-pressure process and probably one of the biggest purchasing decisions you’ll make in your life.
In fact, the challenge of buying a home doesn’t end, no matter how many times you go through the process. There always seems to be a detail that is likely to be overlooked, or some misstep in negotiating property prices.
For a first-time homebuyer, it’s even more daunting. The amount of information that’s out there can make your head spin.
So we’re giving you a list of common home buyer mistakes you need to watch out for:
Jumping in before you’re ready
Sometimes, we give in to the pressure to buy a house just because we’re expected to. Don’t. Take a step back. Assess your goals. Is a owning your own house one of them? If so, are you financially ready to take on this major purchase along with all the expenses that come with owning a house – taxes, repair and maintenance costs, mortgage payments, etc. – without unduly compromising your quality of life?
Not knowing how much you can afford
It can be exciting to go online and scroll through the pictures of every home that catches your fancy. Go slow. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by falling in love with a piece of property that you can’t afford. Keep expectations in check by securing a pre-approval from a lender. Based on your credit score, a pre-approval will indicate how much you can borrow from a bank.
Going on buying sprees
Because the amount of money you can borrow depends on your credit score and purchasing history, don’t mess it up by missing payments or buying big-ticket items like new furniture or a new car. Wait until you close the sale on a home before you go shopping.
Overlooking hidden costs
Don’t consider the down payment and the monthly mortgage alone. Think, too, of the costs associated with owning a home like property taxes, insurance, repairs and maintenance, not to mention closing costs.
Not shopping around for lenders
Applying for a loan is not anyone’s idea of fun, which is why it is so tempting to go with the first lender who approves your loan. The downside is that you may be signing up for harsher terms and higher interest rates. Comparison shopping is always important because the effort you put into it pays off in the long run.
Ensuring that the home buying process is 100% smooth and that you’ll end up with the most perfect property of your dreams is difficult. But when you know what home buying mistakes you should steer clear of, finding exactly what you need – at a price you can afford – becomes much easier.