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Yes, buying a home is a serious commitment and most likely the largest purchase you will ever make. However, armed with a little bit of knowledge, and the help of your awesome Realtor, you can avoid the pitfalls that accompany these 5 common mistakes.
- Not starting the process prepared— Getting in the right house hunting mindset starts with being prepared for the journey.
- Keep a spreadsheet handy of all the homes you have looked at and want to look at. Set up the sheet with a row for the address, price, beds, baths, and initial notes. Hypertext the address to the web address of the home for later reference. Trust me, they will all start to look the same after a while.
- Before setting the first showing appointment go talk to a mortgage broker. Speaking from personal experience, there is no worse feeling than the buyer falling in love with a house that they can’t afford.
- Start a binder for all the property spec sheets that you will receive. Also, write notes on the sheets– first impressions, possible problem areas, and a unique identifier for later i.e. house smelled like cookies; because remember, they will all start to look the same after a while.
- Being completely honest– We all grew up hearing the saying, “honesty is the best policy”. And that is never more truer than when house hunting.
- Be true to yourself– Think about your current lifestyle and how a mortgage would fit into it. It’s easy to say that you’ll just skip the morning coffee in order to afford the monthly payment, but in all honesty that is not the position you want to be in. No one wants to be house poor.
- Be honest with your Realtor– They want to find you a home that best fits your needs and wants. I promise you that it will not offend your agent if you tell them all the things you hate about the house, in fact, it will make the home search go faster.
- Not accounting for additional expenses– Your monthly mortgage payment is only one part of the total monthly expenses you’ll face as a homeowner. When figuring out your payment be sure to include taxes, PMA, HOA, insurance, utilities, and closing costs.
- Not having a home inspection– The $300-$400 you spend on the inspection will be the best money you’ll ever spend on the home. Not only will the inspector find potential safety and health problems, they will also take the time to introduce you to the home. They’ll explain how to properly winterize outside faucets, where the electrical panel is and how to operate it, where the gas shutoff is located, etc. Believe me when I tell you that a good inspector can save you a lifetime of headaches and expenses.
- Being too paranoid– You’re working with an agent for a reason: because they’re the expert. The process of buying a home involves a lot of legalese, lots of paperwork, and very important deadlines that need to be met. It will often involve a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, but you need to trust that your agent is getting things done and the home will close as planned.
Home hunting is fun!! Learn from these common mistakes, and enjoy the ride.