Searching for your new home should be a fun and exciting process. After all, they say it's the biggest purchase you will ever make. While it's a great investment, it can also turn into your greatest nightmare if certain precautions aren't taken. To avoid the heartache, we've put together a short list of "don'ts" and common mistakes to avoid when buying a home.
1. If you’re not planning to stay long, don’t buy a house.
Often times, renters get discouraged by the idea that they are simply writing checks monthly and paying for a home that will never be theirs. However, don’t fall for the illusion that buying a home will be worth it if you’re not planning on staying very long.
If you aren’t sure that you will be in your home for at least two years, resist the urge to bid the landlord farewell. While you might think that paying on equity is better than paying it for someone else, the reality of purchasing a home that you won’t be staying in is more headache and cost-deficient than it’s actually worth.
The potential to lose money after purchase is simply not worth it.
2. Don’t fall in love with the very first house you look at.
Love at first sight does NOT apply to real estate. While that might occasionally work in the dating world, it simply is not the route to take when looking for your new home.
While you might walk through that home and be really excited with what you see, continue to keep an open-mind for the next house you see. Most of the time, home buyers will realize that there is so much potential out there and they shouldn’t settle (pending the budget).
Ever heard the phrase “there’s plenty of fish in the sea”? Well, the same goes for real estate. You may think that first house has everything you want, but you’ll never know until you get a good feel for what else is out there.
3. Remember your budget.
When you’re preparing to buy a home, you will typically get pre-approved (if you’re wise). This pre-approval will give you a good idea of what price range you should be shopping for. This also lets the sellers know that you are serious.
Sometimes, however, home buyers will not get pre-approved and they already know what they qualify for and what they can afford. Unfortunately, this might lead to bidding their budget adieu and welcoming a lot more than they bargained for.
When shopping, if you’ve already done your due diligence and set your budget, but you see a home that is out of your budget, what do you do? Do you ditch the budget because you simply MUST HAVE that house? Or do you keep looking until you find a house within your budget that is just as satisfying of a purchase?
That’s right. Keep it moving, folks. You set that budget for a reason and, after you start to see the fees add up, you’ll be glad you stuck with it.
4. Brace yourselves. The added and hidden costs are coming.
If you’ve been preparing to purchase a home, this most likely means that you have been putting some money aside for the down-payment, which ideally should be 20% of the price. While 20% can seem outrageous, it’s a good idea because it allows your mortgage rate to be lower and also provides more equity in your home upfront. Also, mortgage insurance will be in effect until approximately 20% is paid.
However, outside of the down-payment, a homebuyer must consider closing costs, property taxes, homeowners insurance, maintenance costs (your landlord isn’t going to cover the water and trash anymore), and sometimes even homeowners’ association (HOA) fees.
Be sure to include a buffer zone in your budget to allow for any unexpected and additional costs.
5. Take advantage of the inspection.
Just because your new potential home looks gorgeous on the outside, sometimes the inside can be storing some… let’s say... “skeletons in the closet”. A house that might seem perfect upon initial walkthrough can often turn into a nightmare if not given a thorough inspection.
Do you really want to be given the keys only to find out that there is a major termite infestation? Or mold in the walls or ceilings? Probably not.
Take advantage of the professionals. They know exactly what to look for and will point out the potential trouble spots. Often times, if there are any real threats or damage, the seller and homebuyer can negotiate the purchase price down to cover the costs to repair the issues.
Now that you know the Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Home, begin your home search here to find Homes for Sale in the Antelope Valley.
As one of the fastest growing areas of Southern California, the Antelope Valley has a thriving suburban community well-known for its beautiful weather, jobs, quality of life, and rich aerospace history.