Buying a home for the first time is an exciting milestone, yet there are many challenges that can make your dream overwhelming. Navigating through mortgage complexities, property inspections, and financial readiness are just the tip of the iceberg.
Working with an experienced realtor can help you avoid the common pitfalls that first-time home buyers encounter and provide practical advice to help you make informed decisions, ensuring a smooth and successful home-buying journey.
Interested in starting your home buying journey? As a local Spokane area realtor with 7 years of experience, I’ve helped over 130 people reach their home ownership dreams. If you’re ready to become a first-time home owner, reach out to me!
Common First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes
1. Not Assessing Financial Readiness
Before embarking on the home-buying process, it's important to evaluate your financial health. A common mistake is not taking a thorough inventory of your financial situation.
Taking the time to assess your financial readiness for a house is the first important step.
Start by assessing your budget: How much can you afford for a down payment? What monthly mortgage payment is manageable?
Next, check your credit score, as it plays a significant role in determining your mortgage terms. Finally, don't forget to account for existing debts and financial commitments. This comprehensive financial assessment will be your roadmap to a realistic and sustainable home purchase.
Looking for the secret to success as a first time home buyer? Take a look at my Instagram post for tips here!
2. Skipping Mortgage Pre-Approval
Mortgage pre-approval is a critical step that is often overlooked. This process involves a lender assessing your financial situation to determine how much they would be willing to lend you.
Pre-approval gives you a clear budget for your house hunt and signals to sellers that you are a serious buyer. Without it, you risk losing your dream home to buyers who are better prepared, as sellers prefer buyers with assured financing.
Before you open your favorite apps, before you and your Realtor start touring homes, get that pre-approval!
3. Underestimating Additional Costs
Many first-time buyers focus solely on the down payment and monthly mortgage payments, overlooking additional costs that can significantly impact their budget. These include closing costs, property taxes, homeowner's insurance, and maintenance expenses.
To avoid financial strain, incorporate these additional costs into your budget from the outset. This foresight will help you choose a home you can afford in the long run.
Questions about the Spokane real estate market? Take a look at my Spokane Real Estate FAQ here!
4. Neglecting the Home Inspection
A thorough home inspection is a safeguard against future costly repairs. Skipping this step could lead to overlooking significant issues like structural damage, plumbing problems, or electrical issues.
Hiring a professional inspector to scrutinize your potential home can reveal hidden problems, saving you from expensive surprises down the line.
The inspection is there to help you determine the state of the home, and allow you to negotiate some repairs or concessions if needed.
Wonder what I look for when touring homes? Check out my video on how to tour a home like a pro.
First time home buyers may miss important things when touring a house, which is why it's important to have a home inspection done before buying your first home.
5. Ignoring the Neighborhood
The neighborhood in which you buy can significantly affect your living experience and the property's future value. Researching the area, including local amenities and future development plans is as important as the house itself. A desirable neighborhood for you can not only enhance your quality of life but also bolster your home's resale value.
Pro-tip: This is where having a good realtor comes in handy! A good realtor can help answer your questions and provide background and history about neighborhoods.
6. Overlooking Long-Term Needs
Consider your future needs, not just your current situation. Will you one day need more room in your home, for the kids or for an aging parent? What about telework - will you need a home office? What about the potential for resale?
Purchasing a home that accommodates your long-term needs is a wise investment, preventing the likelihood of outgrowing your home too soon.
7. Failing to Negotiate
Negotiation is a powerful tool in the home-buying process. First-time buyers often accept the listing price as is, but there's usually room to negotiate. Whether it’s the price, closing costs, or repair allowances, effective negotiation can save you money and yield better terms.
I’m not saying that we can negotiate tens of thousands of dollars under the asking price every time. What I am saying is that I have negotiated several favorable outcomes for my clients, and if there’s something important to you, make sure your agent knows your goals so they can best advocate for you.
Your agent can provide effective negotiation to help you achieve your home-buying goals.
8. Not Seeking Professional Help
The complexities of buying a home are often underestimated. Real estate agents and mortgage brokers can provide invaluable assistance. A real estate agent can help you find properties, negotiate deals, and understand market trends. Mortgage brokers can assist in finding the best loan options. Their expertise can simplify the process and help you avoid costly mistakes.
When it comes to buying a home, it is so important to have people on your side who can advocate on your behalf and educate you on the do’s and don’ts of real estate.
If buying a home in 2024 is on your list of goals, make sure you hire a Realtor who will support you in the best way possible.