Buying a first home can be really exciting but it can also be a little daunting. As you drive through neighborhoods and search online there is that nagging thought at the back of your mind: what if I make a mistake? Here are a few things to keep in mind when you being your search for your first home.
Are you pre-approved for a mortgage?
This is a common mistake for first time buyers. Sure you contacted a bank and got pre-qualified so you had an idea of how much you could spend. But pre-qualification is not the same as pre-approval. A pre-approval from a lender is a written commitment from them for a maximum mortgage amount at a stated interest rate. The usual validity period of these pre-approvals is three to six months.
Focusing on first impressions
When shopping for a home, first impressions can have a very strong influence on us. This is particularly true of first time buyers. It is important to keep an open mind and to examine a home objectively. Try to avoid being influenced by the current look or style of the house, whether it is good or bad. A beautifully decorated home may have some hidden issues. Similarly, an “ugly” house may be structurally sound and be perfect for you. An objective visit of the house will help you make a sound decision.
Finding the perfect home
This is a common problem. Inexperienced buyers want their first home to meet 100% of their their requirements - they want the perfect home. It is important to draw a wish list for your first home but you should not discard a home if it does not meet all of your criteria. You may find a great house that will meet 90% of your requirements. Do not pass it up. If you do, chances are you will end up buying something far less desirable simply because you are worn out. Also keep in mind that the longer you look, the higher the prices will rise. This means that you may have to pay more for the same house a year from now. So go ahead and draw up your wish list but be sure to determine which criteria are the most important and focus on them.
Don’t become house poor
This is a disturbing phenomena sweeping all of North America. More and more first time buyers are house poor. Over buying on your first home can have serious repercussions. If all of your family’s income goes to paying and maintaining your house, it will rapidly start feeling that a prison. A beautiful large home that has little or no furniture, prevents you from doing the things you used to enjoy, or leaves you strapped for cash is simply not worth it.
Remember the home inspection
This is another serious mistake that many first time buyers make. It may be because they are tangled up in a multiple offer scenario or simply because they want to save money, but many new buyers decide to skip having a professional inspector look at their home. Having a professional home inspection done because you finalize a purchase can alert you to issues that could cost a lot of money. If nothing else, the home inspector will give you peace of mind. You want to know that the home you are buying is solid and that if there are issues or repairs that are a needed that you negotiate a price reduction to address them.