you need to avoid

Not Getting Pre-Approved & Not Protecting Your Credit Score

  • What you think you can afford and what the bank is willing to lend you may not match up, especially if you had some credit issues or unstable income in the past, so make sure to get pre-approved for a loan before you even start shopping for homes. If you don't know what you can afford you will be wasting your and your agent's time looking at homes out of your price range which will only cause you hardache and disappointment.
  • A seller will almost always expect your pre-approval with any offer you may place. It shows the sellers that you are a serious and viable buyer. Offers without a pre-approval letter (if you plan to finance all or part of the purchase price with a loan/mortgage) or proof of funds letter (in case of an all cash offer) will not be taken seriously especially if there are other offers on the table.
  • Having your pre-approval in your pocket avoids any delays in making your offer once you find a home that you really want. Being prepared helps in many ways!
  • Please be aware that even if you have been pre-approved for a mortgage, your loan can fall through at the last minute if you do something to alter your credit score, like buying and financing a car and/or any other major financed purchase for that matter. If the deal falls apart because of something you caused, you may have to forfeit any deposit you put up when you entered into contract.

Failing To Consider Additional Expenses

  • Property insurance, taxes, homeowners association dues, common charges, maintenance, higher heating, cooling, gas, electric and water bills are some of the costs that first-time home buyers tend to overlook or minimize when shopping for a place. Be realistic about such add-on costs and factor them in to make sure you are not making yourself house-poor.

Being To Picky

  • Yes, just go ahead and put anything and everything you can think of on your new home wish list, but don't become inflexible and end up continuing to rent for significantly longer than you really want to. Keep in mind no house is ever perfect and has all of the bells and whistles you are looking for, and you'll even outgrow the ones you built yourself.
  • As a first-time homebuyer you will often have to compromise on something because your funds may be limited or that dream home just does not exist. You may have to live on a busy street, accept outdated décor, make some repairs and updates to the home, forgo that attached double car garage or extra bedroom and bathroom.
  • Please keep in mind, there is no such thing as the perfect home. Even brand new ones are not perfect. But there are many homes that are close to perfect, meaning they do address the major requirements you have and they may even offer opportunities to address the minor ones. Don't pass up on a house that comes close to what you are looking for just because you may think the next one is going to be it. You'll end up waiting forever!

Lacking Vision

  • Even if you can't afford right now to replace the hideous wallpaper and cracked floor tile in the bathroom, it might be well worth it to live with the ugliness for a while in exchange for getting into a house you can afford and has many of the features you need and want. If the home otherwise meets your needs in terms of the big things that are actually difficult to change, such as location and size, don't let physical imperfections turn you away. Ugly or worn paint and wallpaper can be changed or removed in no time.
  • Besides, doing home upgrades yourself, even when you have to hire a contractor, is often cheaper than paying the increased home value to a seller who has already done some of the work for you. In addition, you get to do it the way you like it done and the value of the home will go up as you continue to improve it.

Being Swept Away

  • Minor upgrades and cosmetic fixes are inexpensive tricks that are a seller's dream for playing on your emotions and eliciting a much higher price tag. Sellers may pay a couple of thousand for minimal upgrades or pay several thousand dollars on staging. If you're on a budget, look for homes whose full potential has yet to be realized. Also, first-time homebuyers should always seek a house they can add value to, as this ensures a bump in equity to help you up the property ladder.

Compromising On The Important Things

  • Don't get a two-bedroom home when you know you're planning to have kids and will need three bedrooms. By the same token, don't buy a condo just because it's cheaper than a house... if one of the main reasons you're over apartment life is because you hate sharing walls with neighbors. It's true that you'll probably have to make some compromises to be able to afford your first home, but don't make a compromise that will be a major strain on you.

Neglegting To Inspect & To Attend Inspection

  • It's tempting to think that you're a homeowner the moment you go into escrow, but not so fast... before you close on the sale, you need to know what kind of shape the house is in. You don't want to get stuck with a money pit or with the headache of performing a lot of unexpected repairs. Keeping your feelings in check until you have a full picture of the house's physical condition and the soundness of your potential investment will help you avoid making a serious financial mistake.
  • Make sure to attend the home inpspection, follow the inspector around, ask him to explain right then and there what he is looking for and what his findings are. He or she will tell you what are minor and/or major issues and why. Of course, you will also receive a written report from your inspector but these reports tend to be very technical and filled with verbiage protecting the home inspector from liabilty and can make even minor issues with the home sound very dramatic.

Not Hiring A Buyers Agent & Using The Sellers Agent

  • Once you're seriously shopping for a home you should secure the help of a buyers agent. It does not cost you anything, belive it or not. Buyer's agents get reimbursed by the seller's broker for bringing a viable buyer to the table but always only act in the buyers best interest. And please, when walking into an open house without your agent always tell the seller's agent that you are already working with a buyers agent. It simply prevents pitfalls and misunderstandings.  
  • All agents are held to the ethical rule that they must treat both the seller and the buyer parties' fairly, but you can see how that might not work in your best interest if you start dealing with the seller's agent directly and/or before getting yourself a buyers agent.
  • A buyers agent always and only has your best interest at heart and by law his/her fiduciary responsibility is to you only, the buyer. Think about it this way: If you were getting sued, would you hire the same attorney as the person suing you? Of course not. You need someone who will diligently represent and fight for your interests and rights. When shopping for a home make sure to find yourself a good buyers agent!
  • In real estate, buyers are faced with a series of big decisions involving at times unknown territory like mortgages, downpayments, negotiations, real estate law, inspections, contracts, and also life choices. Fear of making “The Wrong Decision” regarding any one or all of these issues is a common reaction. Buyers agents work very hard to navigate these issues with their buyers and minimize or eliminate regrets and fears... if buyers allow their real estate agent to help.

Not Thinking About The Future

  • Nobody has a magic crystal ball that can perfectly predict the future of your chosen neighborhood, but paying attention to the information that is available to you now can help you avoid unpleasant surprises down the road. Please keep also in mind that while you can improve a home itself you will be selling it down the road with all of it's positives and negatives if it comes to location and some other unchangeable attributes. Some questions you should ask about your prospective property include:
  1. Are there development plans in the works for your neighborhood in the future?
  2. Is your street likely to become a major street or a popular rush-hour shortcut?
  3. What are the zoning laws in your area?
  4. If there is a lot of undeveloped land? What is likely to get built there?
  5. Have home values in the neighborhood been declining or rising?