First Time Home Buyer: 5 Major Mistakes to Avoid

Buying your first home can be overwhelming. It is no surprise that many people make mistakes on their first home purchase. These mistakes can be expensive learning experiences. Avoiding them is essential to preventing unnecessary stress and expenses.

1. The biggest mistake many first time home buyers make is bypassing the pre-approval process. A pre-approval can tell you how much you can afford to realistically pay for a house. When you know what your budget is, you can narrow your search to homes in your price range.

2. Most first time home buyers do not realize there is more costs involved in owning a home than making mortgage payments. The additional costs include insurance, taxes, water and sewage and maintenance. Many of the expenses that are handled by the landlord when you rent an apartment have to be paid for out of your pocket when you own your home. As a first time home owner, it is important to estimate and budget for these expenses so you do not overextend your finances.

3. Working directly with the sellers real estate agent is a mistake some people make when they are novices in the home buying process. The job of the seller’s agent is to sell the home that is listed with them at the highest possible price so they can maximize their commission. Avoid this pitfall by hiring your own real estate agent.

4. Making a 20 percent down payment can mean a lower monthly mortgage payment and no private mortgage insurance. However, if paying 20 percent up front will cause you financial hardship, it is better to pay the higher monthly payment. A new homeowner needs to have a cash reserve to pay for unexpected repairs. If a 20 percent down payment will deplete your savings, opt for a lower down payment.

5. Finally, first time home buyers often fall in love with the house before they order an inspection. While a home inspection will not uncover all of the flaws in the home, you will get a detailed report about the state of the foundation, roof, basement and attic, furnace, water heater and air conditioner. Skipping the inspection or falling in love with the house and ignoring flaws that are found in the inspection can be a costly mistake.