To refresh your memory, last week I started a two-part blog post addressing the first three of six common first-time homebuyer mistakes that I see way too often.
Those first three mistakes were:
1. Not knowing your budget
2. Not researching down payment programs
3. Working with a lender or agent who wants to upsell
Now, let’s dive right back in
to finish out the list, and get you one step closer to making the best home buying decision possible.
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4. Becoming emotionally invested too soon
Any experienced home buyer understands it, that feeling when you walk into a house and your spidey-senses start to tingle: this is THE ONE. You love nearly everything about it, and your imagination starts to run away.
You see that spot in the backyard that’s perfect for a playset for your growing family. The dining room that can hold a huge table just asks for you to have visions of hosting years and years of Thanksgiving meals. The kitchen with the dual ovens you’ve always dreamed of having…
You know at that moment that you are Home with a capital H, and you’ll go to any lengths to make it yours.
But not so fast.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are a number of reasons that a specific property may end up not being right for you despite that love-at-first-sight feeling. There might be expensive structural issues not visible that are uncovered during the inspection process. There might be other buyers with deeper pockets. The house may excite your emotions but not actually have something that you previously stated was a priority for you, like an upstairs laundry room, or ample parking for your camper.
And if you put your heart before your head, you may end up making some poor decisions that are not to your benefit. A good real estate agent should help you manage those “but I want it!” emotions, but do your best to keep yourself in check, and you’ll thank yourself later.
5. Waiving the inspection
This first time home buyer mistake is often related to Mistake #4. Keep your feelings in check and pay for a thorough professional inspection to uncover any issues that you may not have seen at first glance. No matter how much you think you love a particular property, trust me, you do not want to be stuck with a bunch of unexpected structural issues and expenses!
You also may be tempted to waive the inspection if there are others competing with you for the property. Do not be tempted to forego the inspection just to get the sellers to move you to the top of the pile of offers. Even if the home looks to be in excellent condition with a cursory walk-through, it’s not worth the risk.
6. Messing with credit during the mortgage approval process
Oh, the heartache I’ve seen.
I’ll keep this short and simple. From the moment you submit your mortgage application until you have signed all of your closing documents do not do any of the following:
- Open a new credit card
- Increase your credit card debt
- Miss a payment due date
- Take out a car loan
- Co-sign a loan for someone else
- Substantially decrease or pay off any debt without first talking to your lender (This seems counter-intuitive, I know, but credit usage plays a factor in your credit score, so check first. Always make your scheduled payments, of course.)
Basically, if something involves you borrowing money or will impact your credit score in any way, DO. NOT. DO. IT. If you do, your loan approval may be rescinded, and you may have to start the whole process over again from step one.
That’s it for now. I hope that highlighting these 6 first time home buyer mistakes helps you to steer clear of some serious potential pitfalls as you venture down your real estate journey.
If you’re feeling hesitant about where to start on your first home buying journey, be sure to get your free Buyer’s Guide. It will help walk you through the process from beginning to end.
Have you made any of these common mistakes? Or have you made mistakes that I should add to this list? I’d love to hear.