Posted By Lindsay Faircloth @ Feb 26th 2024 2:32pm In: Faircloth Favorites

Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Home

Buying a home is an exciting journey but also one of the biggest financial decisions you'll ever make. If you aren't careful, it can be filled with pitfalls. In my 20 years as a real estate broker, I've seen my fair share of mistakes made by buyers. To help you navigate the process smoothly, I've compiled a list of the top five mistakes to avoid when purchasing a home.

1. Skipping Pre-Approval

One of the things I hear most often is, "I will get preapproved once I find the house I want". The pre-approval gives you a clear understanding of how much you can afford to spend on a home, gives you an idea of what your payment will be, and shows sellers that you're a serious buyer. it also examines your debt to income ratio which is incredibly helpful in understanding how credit works. Skipping this step can lead to disappointment if you fall in love with a home that's out of your price range or losing out to another buyer who has their financing in order.

2. Ignoring Hidden Costs

Buying a home involves more than just the purchase price. Many buyers make the mistake of overlooking additional costs such as down payment, closing costs, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and HOA expenses. In addition to the earnest deposit and due diligence fee, if applicable. It's crucial to factor these expenses into your budget to avoid financial strain down the road. Working with a real estate professional will help you estimate these costs in the very beginning and give you a better idea of how to structure your offer to purchase if these fees need to be included. 

3. Letting Emotions Drive the Decision

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of finding your dream home, but letting emotions cloud your judgment can lead to costly mistakes. Avoid making impulsive decisions based solely on how a home makes you feel in the moment. Instead, take the time to carefully evaluate the property, considering factors such as location, resale potential, and your long-term needs.

4. Skipping the Home Inspection

Skipping the home inspection to save time or money is a risky move that can come back to haunt you later on. This also applies to new construction. A thorough inspection by a qualified professional can uncover hidden issues that may not be apparent during a walkthrough, such as structural problems, plumbing issues, or mold infestations. Investing in a comprehensive inspection can save you from expensive repairs down the line and give you peace of mind knowing the true condition of the property.

5. Not Working with a Real Estate Professional

Of course you can purchase a home without a real estate professional. Is it advisable? I don't think so and contrary to what some might think, I am not just saying that because I am one. In the case of a first-time buyer it is crucial to have an advocate on your side making sure that you are protected at every turn.  A real estate professional helps you create a contract that best represents your needs, helps you locate a lender who will be there the whole way, not just the initial application, researches all aspects of the home including the land and the history of it to be sure you have clean title, what the uses are, has it flooded, were there any recent building permits for repairs, etc. The right agent will help you find a reputable home inspector, negotiate repairs, find the right attorney to close your transaction and so much more!  A knowledgeable and professional agent can guide you through every single step of the homebuying process and believe me, it's really nice to have someone to turn to for help that does this day in and day out. Not all agents are created equal. The right agent will put your first and will always be your advocate. Be sure you choose the right one. 

In closing, buying a home is a significant undertaking that requires careful planning and consideration. By avoiding these five common mistakes, you can navigate the process with confidence and make informed decisions that will set you up for success as a homeowner. If I can answer any questions or provide any guidance for you or someone you know, please NEVER hesitate to reach out!

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