Choosing a home to buy is one of the biggest financial and emotional decisions you'll ever make. To ensure all goes well, take care to avoid these common home-buying mistakes.
Mistake #1: Looking at Homes Before You Know Your Budget.
Don’t let yourself fall in love with a home you can’t afford. You could end up feeling tempted to stretch your budget beyond your means. Or you might simply feel bitter about the homes you can afford.
What to Do Instead
Get pre-approved by a credible mortgage lender to learn how much home you can afford. Then you can start house-hunting!
Mistake #2: Compromising on a Requirement.
You'll probably have to make some kind of compromise. Maybe the laundry room is in the basement (not your ideal scenario) but the rest of the home is perfect and in your price range.
However, there are some compromises you should never make. Here are a few examples:
the number of bedrooms, if you plan on growing your family.
the size and quality of the yard, if your greatest passion is gardening.
the location, if it means the difference between a 15-minute and a 2-hour commute.
What to Do Instead
Keep looking until you find a home that meets all of your needs.
It’s out there, and your realtor will help you find it.
Mistake #3: Not Using a Real Estate Agent.
It’s a tough market for buyers right now—we've got rising mortgage rates, record-high prices, and homes going under contract just days after listing. Buying a home on your own, without an agent to help you find unlisted homes and negotiate offers, could end up costing you a lot of time, money, and emotional wellbeing.
What to Do InsteadHire a real estate agent! Meet with several agents, ask them lots of questions, and get feedback from their other clients. Then, choose the agent that has an in-depth understanding of the local market and a track record for successfully finding homes for buyers.
Mistake #4: Making an Offer Too Quickly or Too Slowly.
If you don’t move fast enough on a home, competing buyers will swoop in and beat you to it. But if you move too quickly, you don’t give yourself time to get a feel for the neighborhood. Do you like the surrounding area? Can you hear a lot of traffic noise from the backyard? Is the home under a flight path?
What to Do InsteadVisit the home in person, or ask your agent or another trusted person to visit it for you. Then take the night to sleep on it before making your decision in the morning.
For more info, check out these Top 12 House-Hunting Mistakes from Investopedia.