Buying a house is an emotional process. If you let those emotions get the best of you, you might fall prey to a number of common home buyer mistakes. Since homeownership has many far-reaching implications, it is necessary to keep your emotions in check and make the most practical decision possible.
Your goal should be to end up with a house you prefer at a price you can afford, but many people do things that prevent them from attaining that dream. Let us look at some of the top house-hunting mistakes people make—and how to find a house the proper way.
Not Knowing What You Can Afford
Once you have fallen in love with a particular area, it isn’t very easy to go back. You begin dreaming about how great your life would be if you had all the amazing things it offered, like the beautiful, tree-lined streets, the spacious kitchen with professional-grade appliances.
Though, if you cannot or will not be able to afford that house, you are just torturing yourself by picturing yourself in it. So, to avoid temptation, it is sufficient to restrict your house-shopping to properties in your financial neighborhood. If you end up looking at houses that are outside your price range, you will end up lusting after something you cannot afford. That can place you in a vulnerable position of trying to stretch beyond your means financially or make you feel unsatisfied with what you actually can purchase.
Skipping Mortgage Pre-Approval
Be sure to be pre-approved for a loan before putting an offer on the house—or even before you go house-hunting in earnest. If you do not, you will be wasting the seller’s time, and your agent’s time if you sign an agreement and then discover later that the bank will not give you what you need—or that it is only willing to provide you with terms you find unacceptable. The pre-approval process can also assist you in finding the aforementioned financial neighborhood for your house-hunting journeys.
Not Using an Agent
Once you are seriously shopping for a house, do not walk into an open house without having a real estate broker or agent. Agents are bound to the ethical rule that they should act in both the seller and the buyer’s best interests. But you can notice how it might not put you in the best bargaining position if you begin dealing with a seller’s agent before reaching one of your own.
Sometimes a homeowner can feel like Goldilocks in the three bears’ house: This is too small; this is too big. Differentiating between what is fixable and what is not, is a vital part of house-hunting.
Even if you cannot afford to replace that grisly wallpaper in the bathroom right now, it may be worth it to live with the ugliness for a while in exchange for getting into a home you can afford. If the house meets your needs in terms of the big things that are hard to change, such as size and location, do not let physical imperfections turn you away.
Overlooking Relevant Flaws
Look for houses whose complete potential has yet to be realized, particularly if you are on a strict budget. The impact on equity from your upgrades will help you to move up the property ladder.
Ignoring the Neighborhood
Do not just focus on the house—look at the surrounding area properly. It is unlikely to predict the future of your preferred neighborhood correctly, but inquiring about or researching its expectations now can help you avoid unpleasant surprises down the road.
Rushing to Put in an Offer
In a hot market, it might be essential to make an offer fast if you find a house you like. Though, you have to balance the need to make a swift decision with the need to make sure the house will be right for you.
Do not neglect essential steps such as making sure the neighborhood feels safe during the day as well as during the night and investigating potential noise issues like a nearby train.
Dragging Your Feet
It is a tough balancing act to make sure you make a particular decision, but do not take too long to make it. Losing out on a house that you were quite ready to place an offer on because someone beat you to it can be unbearable. It can also have economic consequences.
The Bottom Line
Getting a house is a big decision, but it might not be the most difficult. Though, since it is so natural for emotions to come into play, you need to assure you are making rational decisions rather than getting wrapped up in the notion of a dream house—or conversely, of yourself as a master renovator/builder. If you are aware of the issues ahead of time, you can protect yourself from expensive mistakes and shop with confidence.
In short, when it comes to getting a new house, be practical, take your time, do not act on impulse, and, eventually, make a home-purchase decision that is good for both your finances and your feelings.