When it comes to buying a home, many people lead with their heart. However, getting wrapped up in the emotion of the experience can cause you to overlook some important details. If you aren’t careful, you might make some major mistakes that can delay – or even prevent – closing on the home you’ve chosen. Here are some common home buying mistakes to avoid:
FAILING TO GET PRE-APPROVED
In today’s market, heading to the bank or mortgage company to be pre-qualified should be one of your first steps when you start thinking about buying a home. The process is relatively painless and can help you get a realistic picture of what sort of home you can really afford. Pre-qualification also signals to sellers and agents that you’re ready to buy and that you have no interest in wasting their time.
When taking out a home loan, make sure to understand the basic process, how your credit score will be taken into consideration, the avenues where you can get a loan, and the types of loans that are available to you.
MISUNDERSTANDING THE TOTAL PRICE TAG
Even if you have an idea of your budget, many homebuyers fail to set a specific price ceiling for the home they can afford. When hunting for homes, ask your lender to discuss closing costs with you – beyond a simple down-payment, there are often other fees associated with getting a loan and can add up quickly.
Inspections, title insurance, and legal fees should all be a part of your budget planning process from the beginning. There’s nothing more upsetting than having an offer accepted and finding out that you can’t pull the cash together to seal the deal.
SKIPPING THE PRE-PURCHASE HOME INSPECTION
Skimping on your home inspection could seem like a money-saver, but could end up costing you a bundle in future home repairs. You may feel that the money for the inspection would better serve you as part of the down payment, but don’t be tempted to skip it. No matter how nice the house looks, or what the sellers tell you about its condition, always get a house inspected before you buy it. There are so many little details (and potentially major problems) that only a trained professional can spot.
Even if you’re willing to overlook some problems, it’s better to know exactly what you are buying, including any possible issues. A thorough inspection usually costs a few hundred dollars and is worth every penny.
OPTING AGAINST A HOME PROTECTION PLAN
In the event that your home inspector misses a repair or issue with the home prior to your purchase, you can be left with huge repair bills for an unanticipated issue. A home protection plan, which you can arrange through your real estate agent or mortgage company, is a short-term insurance plan to hedge against just this sort of unforeseen issue – usually for a period of one year from the closing date. While they don’t cover every issue of a home, it offers peace of mind and costs are low. The benefits, should you need them, can help.
FAILING TO HIRE A REAL ESTATE AGENT
With so many resources for finding homes for sale online, it can be tempting to go it alone. But without a qualified Realtor by your side, you are making yourself vulnerable to being taken advantage of, or not understanding everything in the contract. No one knows the housing marketing or what factors go into a home’s value like a professional real estate agent. When they specialize in the area in which you are looking, a Realtor is familiar with factors like the age of the homes in certain communities, market value, school ratings, traffic and commute details, and accessibility to shopping or public transportation.
All buyers have access to the same real estate websites that you do. As a result, in many markets, homes that show up through these mediums can be snatched up before you can schedule a visit. But with a good agent on your side, you may be shown homes that haven’t even hit the market yet. Armed with your specific requirements, the right agent can have you open the front door for a walk-through before other buyers even know about the property.