Do it Right – Top 10 Home Buying Mistakes

Your dream home is out there. Be sure to take the right steps to get it. Courtesy of

With any significant purchase, it is always important to have everything in order to ensure a smooth, stress-free transaction. From planning to payment, the smallest discretion can lead to a nightmare of results and regret. Buying your next—or first—home deserves the same close attention and scrutiny.

As anyone who has ever bought a home or property can attest, the process involves many decisions to be made and even more documents to be signed before the purchase is complete. Along the way, you want to be confident that you took the right steps to protect your best interests. So, if you are about to take the plunge, here are some mistakes to avoid that could mean the difference between a satisfied new homeowner and an unhappy climber on a mountain of debt:

1. Not checking your credit report and score – Review your credit report a few months before you begin your house hunt, and you’ll have time to ensure the facts are correct and dispute mistakes before a mortgage lender checks your credit. You can access a free copy of your credit report HERE once every 12 months. Remember, the cleaner your credit report and the higher your credit score, the more likely you are to be preapproved for a mortgage at a low interest rate.

2. Not knowing how much you can afford– Now that we’re on the subject of being preapproved, as a new buyer it is important to take the time to find out how much you can afford through a qualified lender. Getting preapproved can help you save time by looking for homes that you know you can afford instead of lusting after something out of your price range, and it will put you in a better position over another bidder with no preapproval.

3. Not creating a long-term budget – If the housing crisis proved anything, it’s that mortgages were given to people who clearly did not have the means to pay them back. To avoid making this mistake, home buyers should create a budget before even beginning their home search to determine just how much house they can really afford.

4. Not researching your neighborhood – While you may have found your dream home, is your new neighborhood a nightmare? You should ask yourself a number of questions during your search, such as “Are there good schools nearby?” and “Will I feel safe coming home at night?” Luckily, today’s buyers can gather all sorts of neighborhood information from real estate BLOGS and websites like HERE.

5. Overbuying – Once your price range is identified, you need to keep in mind the other monthly costs that are involved in owning a home. Prepare yourself to pay for taxes, home insurance, utilities, moving costs and other fees. Whether it’s a rusty pipe or a leaky roof, if something needs fixing, it is up to you to get it fixed. Plan to set aside a small percentage of the home’s purchase price annually for repairs and upkeep, and allow for increases in ongoing expenses.

6. Doing it alone – Buying a house is a complex transaction. Do your research, or ask relatives, friends, neighbors, and coworkers for referrals for professional representation. A good real estate agent will be friendly and accommodating, show only homes that fit your parameters, and help you with strategies during the bidding process—but never pressure you into something you’re not comfortable with. Sure, it’s possible to go out and buy a home without the aid of a professional real estate agent. But think about how much time and stress a good agent can save you. It’s definitely worth it to seek help.

7. Falling in love at first sight – You may be in love with the place, but does it fit your needs and budget? Make a list of your needs and wants and make sure the house truly fits your requirements. Buying a home is a long-term commitment, so make sure you look before you leap.

8. Not hiring an inspector – No matter how beautiful and immaculate your new castle may seem, you need to bring in a home inspector to evaluate its structure, construction and mechanical systems, and determine the approximate price of repairs that may be needed. When you make your offer, make sure the seller is aware that your offer is contingent on the house passing inspection.

9. Assuming your first offer will get accepted – Home prices right now are more affordable than in recent times, which means competition is bound to heat up. Don’t get discouraged if you lose out on the first — or second — house you make an offer on. If you do miss out, your perfect place could very easily be at another address. Inventory is currently pretty high, so more choices are out there.

10. Having buyer’s remorse – No place is perfect, and there will always be surprises—whether big or small. So, don’t let any small initial problems ruin your home buying experience. Congratulate yourself on a purchase well done, and welcome to homeownership!

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