By Dave Lund
Realtor®/Founding Partner at GetAnAgent.com
A reinvigorated housing market means many first-time Buyers are again on the hunt for their first home purchase. Don’t let these common mistakes diminish your dreams of home ownership.
1. Agent Opt Out
With internet searching so readily accessible today, buyers entering the market sometimes overlook the fundamental necessity of engaging a good Realtor® to act on their behalf. Be sure to find a real estate agent that you feel a good rapport with and who acts on your behalf in a timely way. Presenting offers and negotiating sales and closings can be a tricky business, and your realty objectives have a lot better chance of succeeding with the guidance and representation of a skilled Realtor®.
2. House over ‘Hood
Too often, homebuyers succumb to the charms of a particular home, despite other issues that may be features of the neighborhood. The best house on the street is about as far from an ideal first-time home purchase as one can get. Sellers will do what they can to increase their home’s appeal. Choose your zip codes and areas carefully and don’t be taken in by unwise investments.
3. Not Checking Credit
Surprisingly few first-time buyers think to check their credit before venturing into the housing market. It’s always a good idea to know your credit rating. The sooner you check, the sooner you can begin to have any unwarranted blemishes removed before making an offer. Your Realtor® will suggest this necessary step if you haven’t already seen to it when you meet. For Buyers, credit scores can mean thousands of dollars in savings or in extra interest.
4. Wrangling Your Price Range
Another common mistake first-time homebuyers often make is not being truly aware of the price range they can afford. Whether buying above or below their suitable price range, buyers do themselves a disservice and waste a lot of time looking at unsuitable properties. Real Estate Agents are trained to help you ascertain your best price range. Beware the Realtor® who ignores your affordability range when showing you homes. Once established, stick to your financial comfort zone.
5. Waiving Home Inspection
One of the worst mistakes new homebuyers make is to waive the Home Inspection in an effort to save money. “Deferred maintenance” may sound fairly innocuous, but it’s really a catchphrase for a lack of maintenance and, worse, long-term structural neglect. Think of your formal Home Inspection as your gateway to security when buying your first home. Inspectors will document damage and warning signs that may then save you thousands in future repair bills, or even give you sound reason to walk away from a particular house. Inspection results may also serve as leverage in negotiating seller repairs and/or a lower purchase price.
6. Conditional on Contingencies
It’s always best to include at least two formal conditions when making an offer to purchase. Generally, offers that are conditional on the results of a Home Inspection and on the Buyer’s ability to finance are the two most common contingencies found in real estate agreements. Overlooking the inclusion of conditions and contingencies in an purchase offer may obligate you to a home you don’t really want and put your initial deposit, or earnest money, at risk. It’s always best to err on the side of caution when making monumental purchases, but be careful to avoid unnecessary or redundant conditions that simply complicate the deal and may put Sellers off.