Buying your first home is exciting, but it can also be a little overwhelming. There are so many things to think about that you don't have to concern yourself with when you're renting an apartment. How do you know whether or not you're making a good decision? Take a look at some common first-time home buyer mistakes to see how you can avoid making a bad deal.
Getting Swept up By The Staging
If the owners have already moved out of the house you're looking at, there's a good chance that the real estate agent has "staged" the house to make it look more appealing. Home staging can involve anything from bringing in furniture to give you an idea what the house will look like furnished to playing music or baking cookies in the kitchen to make the place sound or smell more appealing.
It's important to look past the staging to see what the house really has to offer. For example, if there are lamps on nightstands on either side of a bed, check to see if there are really outlets in those areas, or if the lamps are just there for show. You don't want to discover when you're moving in that you have to have the house rewired to get outlets where you want them. It's true that missing outlets aren't usually a dealbreaker, but this is a good example of how staging may make you think the house is better suited for you than it really is.
Failing to Account for All Expenses
Nobody sets out to buy a house that they can't afford, but it can sometimes happen anyway because a buyer fails to take everything into account. Remember that it's not just the mortgage you're going to have to pay every month. You're also going to need home insurance. You will have to pay utility bills. There may be homeowner's association fees. Can you keep up with the lawn yourself, or will you have to hire a landscaper? After you make the down payment on the home, will you still have a nest egg to tap in case you need cash for home repairs, like a new roof?
These are all important questions to ask yourself. Do your research into the costs associated with living in the area. Ask the homeowner to pull their CLUE report, so you can see if there are ongoing problems with the house that might raise your insurance rates. Don't forget to factor in the bills you're already paying, like credit cards and health insurance premiums, because those will still be part of your budget after you buy the house.
Skipping the Home Inspection
Skipping the home inspection is always a mistake, even if you're looking for a fixer-upper. No matter how honest the buyer seems, there's always the chance that they will omit problems or downplay them if they're anxious to sell the house.
Many first-time buyers are willing to take on a house with a few problems just to have a place of their own. But you don't want to get stuck with a money-pit. A foundation problem, for example, can cost anywhere from $500 to more than $10,000 to repair. You need to know what type of price range you're looking at before you decide on a house that has problems. Getting an inspection will help.
The biggest mistakes that you can make as a homebuyer boil down to not knowing exactly what you're getting and not knowing exactly what you'll be paying for it. If you can avoid these mistakes, you can end up with a house that you're happy with and that you can afford. Contact a business, such as Chris Calhoon Real Estate, for more information.