5 Biggest Mistakes I See First-Time Homebuyers Make Most Often

Are you a potential first-time home buyer?  The most important thing for you to realize is . . . you don't know what you don't know.

There are so many things that you need to know to make good decisions when buying your first home.  The smartest thing you can do is find an experienced, well-regarded real estate professional and share your plans and goals with them.  When buying your first home, avoid using a friend or relative that just got their real estate license.  This is the time when you most need an agent with vast experience.  A seasoned real estate pro will guide you through the real estate buying process, and will be there to advise you every step of the way . . . from your pre-approval with a lender, to the move, and beyond.  

Here are the 5 biggest mistakes I see first-time homebuyers make the most often:

1.  They don't get pre-approved prior to looking at homes.  There really is no point looking at homes to buy until you know (1) that you can get a mortgage, and (2) how much you can spend on a home.  You will just be wasting time if you shop before you know what you can buy.  Most real estate agents will connect you with a reputable lender who will gather the information they need from you, check your credit report, and let you know how much you will need for a down payment, closing costs, and how much you can spend on a home.  Once you are armed with a pre-approval letter you can start looking for the right home.  When you want to make an offer on a home, most sellers will want to see a pre-approval letter before accepting your offer.  A pre-approval letter tells the seller than you are qualified to purchase their home and makes you a stronger buyer in their eyes.

2.  They make big purchases or leases, like a car, during the purchase process.  Just because you have been pre-approved, that doesn't mean your loan will GET approved.  A pre-approval is based on the information you provided to the lender at that point in time.  If anything changes between the time you get pre-approved and the time you actually close on the loan, your loan can end up being denied.  If you make a large purchase, get laid off, or run up balances on your credit cards . . . these are all things that could cause your application to end up in the pile of rejected loans.

3.  They don't want to spend the money on a home inspection.  You should never skip a home inspection, and should make every effort to be present during the process.  The inspection is an opportunity to learn about items that may need repaired or replaced, as well as learn how to maintain certain major elements of the home.  The inspector will answer all your questions and address your major concerns.  No house is perfect.  Even newly-built homes may have issues that need to be resolved.  Making your purchase contingent on a satisfactory home inspection is very important!  If the inspection reveals major issues, and the seller refuses to rectify them, then you are not obligated to buy the house.  Would you spend $400 to avoid making a $200,000 purchase mistake?  A home inspection is well worth the time and money.

4.  They look to family and friends for advice.  Well-meaning friends and family are a blessing.  But . . . when you're buying a home, you should be heeding the professional advice of your real estate agent and lender.  Both your agent and lender are working in your best interest at all times, and have probably been through the process hundreds, or not thousands, of times.  If you have been advised to NOT do something the professionals have advised you to do, don't do it without consulting with your agent and/or lender.

5.  They wait too long to make an offer on a home they really love.  If your ducks are all in a row . . . you're pre-approved, the home is in the location you desire, and you're ready to take the plunge . . . then don't wait too long to submit an offer.  Another offer could be presented to a seller at any time.  You don't want to miss out on the place you love because you waited too long to pull the trigger.  Buying a home is an emotional decision.  Generally the house just 'feels like home' and you know it's the one.  When that happens, don't hesitate.

Of course, there are lots more than 5 big mistakes first-time buyers often make.  It is my job to help my clients avoid ALL the mistakes, if possible.  

I would be delighted to help you through the process of buying your first home.  Just give me a call at your convenience and we'll get started.