The 10 Worst Mistakes Made By First Time Home Buyers

The 10 Worst Mistakes Made By First Time Home Buyers

Are you gearing up to buy your first place? Shopping for a home is exciting, exhausting and a little bit scary. In the end, your aim is to end up with a home you love at a price you can afford. Sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately, many people make mistakes the prevent them from achieving this simple dream.

1. Not Knowing What You Can Afford
If you end up looking at homes that are outside your price range, you'll end up lusting after something you can't afford, which can put you in the dangerous position of trying to stretch beyond your means financially or cause you to feel unsatisfied with what you actually can afford. You may even learn that you can't afford the type or size of home that you desire and that you need to work on reducing your monthly expenses and/or increasing your income before you even start looking.

2. Skipping Mortgage Qualification
What you think you can afford and what the bank is willing to lend you may not match up, especially if you have poor credit or unstable income, so make sure to get pre-approved for a loan before placing an offer on a home. If you don't, you'll be wasting the seller's time, the seller's agent's time, and your agent's time if you sign a contract and then discover later that the bank won't lend you what you need, or that it's only willing to give you a loan terms that you find unacceptable.

3. Failing to Consider Additional Expenses
Once you're a homeowner, you'll have additional expenses on top of your monthly payment. Unlike when you were a renter, you'll be responsible for paying property taxes, insuring your home against disasters and making any repairs the house needs (which will occasionally include expensive items like a new roof or a new furnace).

If you're interested in purchasing a condo, you'll have to pay maintenance costs monthly regardless of whether anything needs fixing because you'll be part of a homeowner's association, which collects a couple hundred dollars a month from the owners of each unit in the building in the form of condominium fees.

4. Being Too Picky
Go ahead and put everything you can think of on your new home wish list, but don't be so inflexible that you end up continuing to rent for significantly longer than you really want to. First-time homebuyers often have to compromise on something because their funds are limited. You may have to live on a busy street, accept outdated decor, make some repairs to the home, or forgo that extra bedroom. Of course, you can always choose to continue renting until you can afford everything on your list - you'll just have to decide how important it is for you to become a homeowner now rather than in a couple of years.

5. Lacking Vision
Even if you can't afford to replace the hideous wallpaper in the bathroom now (a can of paint is inexpensive), it might be worth it to live with the ugliness for a while in exchange for getting into a house you can afford. If the home otherwise meets your needs in terms of the big things that are difficult to change, such as location and size, don't let physical imperfections turn you away. Besides, doing home upgrades yourself, even when you have to hire a contractor, is often cheaper than paying the increased home value to a seller who has already done the work for you.

6. Being Swept Away
If you're on a budget, look for homes whose full potential has yet to be realized. Also, first-time homebuyers should always look for a house they can add value to, as this ensures a bump in equity to help you up the property ladder.

7. Compromising on the Important Things
Don't get a two-bedroom home when you know you're planning to have kids and will want three bedrooms. By the same token, don't buy a condo just because it's cheaper when one of the main reasons you're over apartment life is because you hate sharing walls with neighbors. It's true that you'll probably have to make some compromises to be able to afford your first home, but don't make a compromise that will be a major strain.

8. Neglecting to Inspect
It's tempting to think that you're a homeowner the moment you go into escrow, but not so fast - before you close on the sale, you need to know what kind of shape the house is in. You don't want to get stuck with a money pit or with the headache of performing a lot of unexpected repairs. Keeping your feelings in check until you have a full picture of the house's physical condition and the soundness of your potential investment will help you avoid making a serious financial mistake.

9. Not Choosing to Hire an Agent or Using the Seller's Agent
Once you're seriously shopping for a home, don't walk into an open house without having an agent (or at least being prepared to throw out a name of someone you're supposedly working with).  In Texas, real estate agents must represent the sellers best interest UNLESS they have an agreement to specifically represent the buyer.  As a buyer, it makes sense that you'll want a professional with great negotiating skills to guide you through the process.  Best of all, having an agent represent you won't cost you a dime because the agents have a cooperative agreement to split commissions if the buyer has an agent.

10. Not Thinking About the Future
It's impossible to perfectly predict the future of your chosen neighborhood, but paying attention to the information that is available to you now can help you avoid unpleasant surprises down the road.

For a free, no obligation, evaluation of your homes market value, please call or email Mark Mulch at 972-841-2324 or  Start the search for your next home at

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Phone: 972-841-2324
Dated: August 27th 2014
Views: 670
About Mark: An accomplished Realtor, small business owner, and Ironman triathlete, Mark excels in delivering a h...

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