I have worked with a lot of first time home buyers here in the Redding area. It is always a fun adventure for both myself and my clients. Though there might be some bumps along the way, I’ve always been able to help my clients realize their home ownership dream. To help smooth the way for others getting ready for their first adventure into real estate, I’ve created this list of some of the common mistakes made by first time home buyers.
Jumping into a purchase:
Don’t let your emotions lead you into a decision you might regret when the initial excitement wears off. First-time buyers need to educate themselves about the housing market in their area and the home buying process in general. Having your own ‘Buyer’s Agent’ who will provide you with current market information can help you understand the home buying process.
As a first-time home buyer, you may not be aware of all the costs of homeownership. I suggest that you look at all your current monthly expenses, estimate any changes in utilities because of the increase in size of the home you are looking for, and add in any new expenses. Remember to calculate not only an emergency fund but a home maintenance fund into your expenses. Subtract the total expenses from your monthly income to see what is left for a house payment. Knowing what you can really afford will keep you from looking at homes in the wrong price range.
Not Clarifying your Priorities
It’s always good to make a list of your needs, wants, and deal breakers. If you are purchasing a home with another person, make sure you both make a list and then combine the two. Truly understanding what you want in a home makes your home search much more pleasant.
Working with the Wrong Realtor®
Buying a home is a stressful process. A Good Realtor® works hard to simplify things for you and is constantly working in your best interest. To find a good Realtor® check out their online reviews and ask people you trust for a referral. The Realtor’s® website and Facebook Page should have their reviews posted.
Letting Your Emotions Rule:
All too often buyers fall in love with a house before they have a chance to use reason, and do their due diligence. Even though your heart is telling you that you have found your dream home, make sure to use your head and caution yourself to take it one step at a time. Buyers need to have all the pertinent investigations done to make sure that their dream house doesn’t turn into a nightmare down the road.
It’s best to view a variety of homes on the market before choosing the one you like that also meets your priorities and budget, then you are ready to make an offer. Sometimes you will decide to make an offer on a home only to find out that someone else beat you to it…this can be very disappointing. But keep focused on the fact that new houses come on the market every day…you will find the right one for you.
Choosing the Wrong Lender:
Your choice of a loan officer/lender is one of the most important choices you will make in regards to your home purchase. The loan officer is the one who makes sure that you are qualified for your loan. Sounds simple, but over the years of dealing with many lenders, I’ve learned that there are many who don’t do enough investigation into a buyer’s situation up front. That can make for a very rocky escrow and sometimes even cause the deal to fall apart when unexpected hurtles turn up during the escrow. Your Realtor® can refer you to local lenders who they have worked with and who they know can get the job done.
Using Third Party Real Estate Sites:
It’s fine to look on third party sites like Zillow & Trulia when you are first thinking about buying a home, but as you become a serious buyer there are many benefits to using your Realtor’s® website. Using a website that has a direct feed from the local MLS ensures that you will see all the listings that are currently for sale in your area and that you will get the most accurate, timely information available. Third party sites often have old information, houses that aren’t currently for sale, and they can’t update the new listings as fast as one with a direct MLS feed. This becomes very important if you are in a market with a low inventory of homes for sale. The competition can be swift in a low inventory market and it is very frustrating to miss out on a great listing just because you are unaware that it’s available.
Be a smart, proactive buyer, do your homework, determine your budget & priorities, choose a great Realtor®, and a good loan officer/lender!