Buying a house is a large investment, perhaps even one of the most important purchases in our lives. But before you embark on your journey of house-hunting, it’s important to be aware of factors like finances, flaws, and even your feelings, so as to not underestimate them. Here are some of the common pitfalls first-time homebuyers face while house-hunting, and a useful anti-checklist you can use in the future to avoid them:
Don’t Go To An Open House Without Your Realtor
Resist the urge to walk into an open house by yourself where you may be looking at even more properties that don’t meet your expectations or needs and end up wasting your time. It’s important to lock in your priorities before you call the number on the sign. Secondly, showing up by yourself at an open house may make sellers think you’re unrepresented, which may take away your bargaining leverage if you’re inexperienced in buying houses.
Bring your realtor to the property you’re interested in and let them do their research beforehand. In a majority of the cases, your realtor may already know enough about the property and be aware of whether or not it meets one or more of your search criteria.
Don’t Skip Your Mortgage Pre-Approval
Before placing an offer on a home, make sure you are pre-approved for a loan. This holds true even before you go house-hunting in earnest so there’s total transparency between your expectations and your finances.
There’s bound to be some difference between what the bank says you can afford, and what you know you can afford. The reverse is also true where there is a difference between what you think you can afford versus what the bank may be willing to lend you, especially in cases of poor credit or unstable income.
Skipping a mortgage pre-approval means a potential waste of the seller’s time, their agent’s time, as well as your agent’s time should you sign a contract prematurely without the bank’s backing.
Don’t Judge A House By Its Cover
While the curb appeal of the house matters and the staged rooms inside add a nice touch, make sure you don’t jump the gun based on aesthetics alone. Cosmetic benefits aside, it’s important to pay attention to the structural qualities of the house. Be sure to honestly evaluate each home, you visit and don’t be quick to dismiss a home by appearance alone! A little elbow grease goes a long way!
Don’t Act Too Quickly
It may feel natural to move fast once you find your forever home. The temptation to make an offer immediately after the first viewing may be strong, however, it’s important to power through this feeling and actually view the house multiple times to truly get an idea of its pros and cons.
Visit the house during bad weather such as rain or snow to see if the structure shows leakage or requires renovation. Also, be sure to visit the home at different hours of the day to have a better understanding of traffic noise around the neighbourhood.
Continue to shop around and visiting multiple houses within your favoured neighbourhood to evaluate which house best fits your bill.
The Bottom Line
Buying a house is a big decision, but it does not have to be difficult. When on a budget, look for homes whose full potential has yet to be realized. Don’t just focus on the residence—look at the surrounding area and research the prospects of your neighbourhood.
Think about your future in the home you purchase. Speak with a realtor to protect yourself from costly mistakes as you shop around. Be realistic, take your time and embark on this exciting journey with confidence!
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