Top First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes

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Driving the buying process home for the first-time home buyer does not have to be a “pulling your hair out by the roots” experience. Once buyers have qualified for a mortgage, it is prudent to choose a competent real estate agent to represent them. Buyer’s agents can assist with offer negotiations, home inspection and repairs, and most importantly, handle the myriad issues that develop between the lending institution, the escrow company, the seller, the closing, and on and on. By allowing the agent to do her job, first- time buyers can avoid many of the mistakes that plague others in a similar situation. 

Not Listening to the Buyer’s Agent 

If potential buyers have chosen well, the agent is the professional, who is the first line of defense between the buyer and seller. He or she can steer buyers to properties that they may not have considered otherwise. Her job is to know the area in which she is selling and to understand the various nuances pertinent to the area. She will be familiar with the schools, churches, crime rate, and the numerous factors that make up a neighborhood. 

Buyers generally lack the experience that an agent can bring to the table, so heeding her advice helps to secure a property in the desired location and price range. When family or friends offer advice based on their experiences, it is best to give priority to the agent’s counsel. Her knowledge and experience outrank well-meaning friends and family. 

Not Getting a Preapproval Letter 

The agent will be the first one to tell you to get preapproved. Otherwise, she is spinning her wheels. There is no point delving into the home buying process unless she knows how much money you can afford to spend. In addition, sellers are not interested in buyers who have not been preapproved. Why should they waste their time when another potential buyer has already been approved? Buyers may lose out on the perfect house because they have not completed this important first step. A good agent can steer them to a lender before she uses her time and energy to search for properties that meet their specifications. 

Buying the Most Expensive Home 

First-time buyers, especially if they are young, have time on their side. They can move up into that coveted home in a few years without the stress of buying more house than they can comfortably afford now. Unless they are already wealthy, it is likely better to purchase a home that is a little less than they can afford so that their monthly payments will be in line with a lifestyle that is comforting rather than one that is wearisome. 

It is better to look for a property which meets basic requirements, then, make it into what they actually want. Half the pride in home ownership is in the personal touches acquired over time. The location of the property often drives the cost. Are there other properties in similar locations that are less expensive? How important is location to you? What is the real reason you want the more expensive home? Is it so that other people will swoon when they enter, or do you truly feel you would not be happy in the less expensive home? These are all legitimate questions to ask before making the commitment. Do not rush into a decision. Like carrying an expensive item around a department store while deciding if you really want or need it, so the decision goes when purchasing a major piece of real estate.

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