What if you screwed up on the biggest purchase of your life?
That’s exactly what happens to plenty of people each year when they buy a house. All it takes is one simple error to make them completely regret that expensive mortgage.
Fortunately, you can avoid these mistakes by doing a little homework. Keep reading to discover the top 10 mistakes to avoid when house hunting!
1. Going Over Budget
One of the biggest mistakes is also the easiest to make. What are we talking about? Buying a house that’s too expensive!
It may not sound like too much of an extra payment each month. But remember, you’ll be making this payment for 15 or even 30 years!
That’s why you should start your search with lower-cost houses and work your way up. You may be surprised at how many awesome places you can buy without going over budget.
2. Bad Real Estate Agent
By now, most buyers understand it’s a mistake to skip the real estate agent entirely. But if you’re not careful, you can end up with a really bad agent.
Ideally, you want a good agent who knows the local area inside and out. And you want someone who will give you objective advice about areas and homes instead of someone who wants to get a sale as quickly as possible.
Try to interview multiple agents so you can find the best one.
3. Buying in the Spring or Summer
You can’t always control when you need to move. However, you should stick with renting until you can make a purchase in the fall.
Why? Because of the competition! More people are trying to buy homes in the spring and summer than in the fall and winter.
More competition can drive prices beyond your budget. But if you can wait for cooler weather, you can snag yourself a cooler price.
4. Skipping Your Pre-Approval
We keep talking about the importance of staying within your budget. But how do you know exactly how much house you can buy?
To know this, you need to get a mortgage pre-approval before you make any offers. This can put your mind at ease because you know you’re already good for the money. And, of course, that puts sellers at ease as well!
If you skip pre-approval, you might get approved for less than you imagined and have to start the buying process all over again.
5. Judging a House by Its Cover
The “curb appeal” outside of a house is obviously important. And staged rooms inside a house are a nice touch. But make sure you aren’t making a decision based only on aesthetic appeal.
If you focus on the cosmetic benefits, you might overlook problems with the home such as the lack of storage space and the cramped rooms. In short, you shouldn’t let the house put a spell on you that keeps you from honestly evaluating each home.
Conversely, don’t be afraid to look twice at an “ugly” home. If it meets all your other criteria, you can always spend a little time and elbow grease making it look nicer.
6. Acting Too Quickly
When you’re excited about buying a home, it’s natural to move fast. And once you find what seems to be your dream home, you may be tempted to make an offer after a single viewing.
However, you should actually view the house multiple times to get a better idea of its pros and cons. For example, visiting during bad weather can give you a better idea of whether the basement leaks. This can help you prepare for the added cost of renovations.
And, of course, not rushing into an offer gives you more time to explore your options.
7. Not Exploring Your Options
What does “shopping around” mean when hunting a house? Simple: it means visiting multiple houses and seeing how many of them you fancy.
Once you have a basic idea of what you need (for example, a minimum of 2 beds and 2 bathrooms), you can explore multiple homes that meet this category. You can then evaluate which house has a better neighborhood and other important qualities.
Honestly, this is just one more reason to avoid rushing in!
8. Not Thinking Long-Term
Another rookie mistake when it comes to house hunting is short-term thinking. Unless you want a “starter” home, a house is a really long-term commitment. You need to make sure it meets your long-term needs.
For example, are you going to want kids (or more kids) in a few years? In that case, you may need more bedrooms than you thought.
The idea of expanding your family may also impact your budget. Ultimately, you’ll want to find that “sweet spot” between having enough space and having enough money.
9. Avoiding Inspection
Of course, the single best thing you can do to protect your money when buying a house is to get an inspection. A professional inspector can help discover things about the house that you may have missed during your visits.
And the inspector’s findings can seriously impact your bottom line. That’s because if you don’t hire an inspector, you may buy a home that requires endless renovations and repairs.
Obviously, no one wants a stream of repair bills on top of their mortgage. For more details on what an inspector can do for you and your home, read on here.
10. Not Studying the Neighborhood
When you visit a house, it’s easy to fall into the trap of looking at the house by itself. But it’s important for you to study the entire neighborhood.
You’ll want to know basic facts, including how long your commute to work will be. And you’ll want to research police reports and verify that this is a relatively safe neighborhood.
Try to find a neighborhood that suits your lifestyle as well. If you like to go running, for example, there is nothing wrong with holding out for a home in a runner-friendly neighborhood.
And, of course, it doesn’t hurt to talk to any potential neighbors you encounter. After all, you’ll be living next to them for years!
House Hunting: Avoid the Mistakes
Now you know how to avoid these mistakes when house hunting. But do you know where you can find a perfect home?
We have the best selection of properties and prices at the click of a button. To find your dream home, come browse our listings today!