Top 5 Home Buyer Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

Buying a home can either feel like an exciting adventure or a tiring chore. As the home buyer, the good news is that you have the power to take simple steps to make the process of buying a home go smoothly. After all, this is a huge milestone that you should enjoy.

Many home buyers fall into the same five mistakes that make the home buying process a challenge. Take time to avoid these pitfalls and you can celebrate every step in the process rather than stressing out.  Here are the top five home buyer mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Forgetting Added Costs

Many new home buyers forget about all the costs of owning a home. Rather than simply replacing a rent payment with a mortgage payment, you are taking on maintenance costs, property tax, and homeowner’s insurance—and don’t forget about closing costs. When you think you’ve found your dream home, get quotes for the utility costs, property taxes, and insurance before getting on board. Then you’ll have the full picture of how much the house will cost you on a monthly basis.

2. Scrambling for Deals

Sometimes the cost for buying a home can seem daunting, and it can be tempting to chase homes that are priced for a quick sale. Unfortunately, this sometimes means sacrificing some things you want in a home because the price is right. Many times, when you chase deals, you also pass up homes that are exactly what you’re looking for. Rather than scrambling for deals, focus on what you want in a home, and once you find your fit, make a solid offer. You won’t regret it.

3. Failing to Think Like a Seller

Remember that someday that you might be selling the home you’re buying. Meaning, you may be willing to deal with a house’s quirks, but quirks can make a house difficult to sell in the future. As you walk through different homes, try to put yourself in the seller’s shoes, and ask yourself if you are making sacrifices in buying a house, and if those sacrifices might make it difficult to sell. Of course, sometimes home buyers love buying houses with quirks so that they can feel the accomplishment of fixing them up and making them beautiful.

4. Negotiating at the Wrong Time

With the housing market getting better all the time, it’s becoming more common for home buyers pay more than asking price to win a bidding war. That’s great—but don’t expect to negotiate the price down by asking for credits during escrow. If the seller has a backup offer, you’ll be out of luck and wasting time. Instead of playing games, a winning strategy is to make your best offer and negotiations ahead of time, and assume you’ll need to stick to your offer without negotiating it down later. You’ll save time and stress for both yourself and the seller.

5. Settling for Any Loan Officer

If you leave finding a loan officer until the last minute, in your haste you may end up with headaches and unfavorable loan terms. Do your research and find a trustworthy loan officer before you find a house—you should start getting your finances in order at least six months before buying a home. While a Realtor can’t help you with your finances, you can rely on your Realtor to help you find a loan officer who will help you through the process and make your paperwork and terms as painless as possible. In an upcoming article, you’ll get specific tips on how to choose a reputable loan officer, so look forward to that!

As a home buyer, you deserve to have the process be as easy and fun as possible. Avoid these common mistakes, and you’ll be well on your way to finding the home of your dreams without hassle.

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