Buying your first home is exhilarating—but it can also be a seemingly endless whirlwind of decisions. Coupled with a housing market economy still recovering from not only this past year, but from recessions preceding it, it can seem especially difficult to make it into your future home.
For first-time homebuyers, it’s even more essential to know the common pitfalls when working your
way through the process so you don’t possibly make a costly mistake. So here’s a short list of some of the most common mistakes people make when buying their first (or any!) home and how to avoid them.

Disregarding Pre-Approval
Before shopping, you need to know how much you can spend. This is exactly what pre-approval is—a bank determination of how large a loan you qualify for. This is based upon several factors including your household income and credit score. So before you begin the house-searching process, check your credit report and clean up any errors. Then, gather your paperwork and get pre-approved by a qualified mortgage lender.

Neglecting Neighborhood Research
You’ve heard it time and time again: location, location, location. While it may sound cliché, so many
homebuyers neglect researching what their life will look like beyond the walls of their home. It’s so easy to get caught up in the square-footage, beds/bathrooms, and backyard—and sure—while that is
absolutely important, you need to determine whether your neighborhood is a good fit, too. For buyers with children, what are the local schools like? How far away are they? What about parks? Is your area easy to walk around? For anyone, it might be helpful to know how close the nearest grocery store is, what restaurants are in the area, and fun things to do. The easiest way to research a neighborhood is to experience it firsthand. When touring a house you feel strongly about, take some time to go for a walk or drive around. You’ll get a feeling for the area fairly quick and you’ll be able to make a more holistic, well-rounded decision.

Knowing Your Wants vs. Needs
Time to get honest with yourself—what do you actually need versus what you want? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having plenty of wants; however, knowing well what your absolute, bottom-line needs are will help you avoid making excuses for a home that doesn’t deliver because you’ve fallen in love over its charm. For example, if you determine you need three bedrooms, avoid the potential heartbreak and don’t even bother touring a two bedroom. The same can be true about our point above—what do you need in your neighborhood and surrounding area? Do you need easy access to public transportation, a school, or grocery store? Then certain homes and areas may just not work for you. Be clear in your needs vs. wants, and your home shopping search will become much more streamlined.

Underestimating the Full Cost of Buying a Home
There’s so much more to buying a house than just the price tag—you also have to take into
consideration pricey add-ons such as taxes, insurance, utilities, appraisal fees, and other assorted closing costs. You’ll also want to bolster a home emergency fund to cover unexpected repairs you may encounter soon after moving in. Don’t let this dishearten you—it’s part of the process and no one is off the hook—just build it into your budget (pre-approval can help you with this!) and you’ll be prepared.

We hope these few tips helped you gain some insight and confidence before starting your next home buying experience! There’s so much that goes into buying a home, and while it can be challenging, it’s far from impossible. Hiring professionals can make the process run smoother, so you can focus your time on preparing for this next exciting chapter in your life! Reach out to us and let’s begin the journey together.

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