First Time Home Buyer Pitfalls to Avoid

Navigating the real estate market for the first time is daunting enough without falling for one of real estate’s common missteps. These pitfalls make life more difficult for buyers and also can make the home-buying experience anything but pleasant. 

How to Recognize a Raleigh Real Estate Pitfall and then Avoid It

Here are the top missteps that first-time home buyers make, along with a solution on how to avoid them.

Not knowing your financial limits. It’s easy to get swept away in the excitement of buying a new home and end up buying a property that makes you “house poor.” Avoid this because it can be a major drain on quality of life. Instead, take the time to speak with a qualified lender and get pre-approved for a mortgage. That way, you won’t waste your time (and ultimately, money) looking at and buying a property that you simply can’t afford.

Generalizing that all foreclosures are great deals. If you just look at the price tag on a foreclosed home, you may be wooed by the bottom line. But not all foreclosed homes are created equal. In fact, some may require extensive renovations or repairs that end up being more costly than you’d imagine. So do your research thoroughly if you’re considering purchasing a foreclosed home.

Letting your emotions get the best of you – and letting them show. Of course, home buying is inherently an emotional process. After all, you’re investing in the property that is going to become your family’s gathering place for major milestones. Still, it’s important not to wear your emotions on your sleeve, especially around the home sellers and their agent. Otherwise, you’re giving them the upper hand when it comes time for negotiations.

Not working with a quality home buyer’s agent – or flying solo altogether. It’s tempting, especially with all of the technology available today, to think you don’t need a real estate agent. Or to think that it’s not important to do your research in hiring an agent. However, this is a mistake. It’s important to work with a qualified and experienced real estate agent who knows how to adequately represent your needs as a buyer, especially when you’re a first-time home buyer. Take the time to interview prospective agents and to see what their experience with first-time home buyers has been like.

Not budgeting for property taxes. It’s not something you may have thought about, especially if you’ve been living in apartments all of your adult life. But property taxes are a crucial part of the home buying budget. So make sure to get an idea of how much you’re likely to spend by calling the local assessor’s office and talking with residents in the area.

Underestimating home ownership costs. These costs don’t end at just the mortgage. Now that you’re a home owner, you’ll be responsible for maintaining such things as leaky faucets and replacing such things as older roofs. Plus, don’t forget your utilities costs! Experts say that you should set aside about 1 percent of the home’s purchase price annually for these kind of upkeep needs.

Assuming that the seller will accept your first offer. This can be a heartbreaking realization for home buyers but sometimes your first offer is not accepted and it’s back to the drawing board. Try not to become discouraged. The right home and real estate deal will come along when it’s supposed to.

Not getting a home inspection. Sure, the home looks amazing to the naked eye but that doesn’t mean you should assume it’s in adequate condition. Pay for the home inspection and you may dodge a bullet if it comes back that the home has some severe problems that are going to cost you thousands of dollars. At that point, you as the home buyer will have the option to avoid those costs by backing out of the contract on account of the inspection results.

Taking on too much at once. It’s easy to get caught up in the fervor of buying you first home by spending all of your waking hours searching for your dream property. Avoid doing this or you’ll burn out before you ever get started! Instead, pace yourself and allow yourself to enjoy your life instead of becoming all consumed with home buying.

Not including a contingency clause in the contract. Contingencies are an excellent tool to allow home buyers to safely back out of a contract without consequence. There are plenty of types of contingencies, from securing a loan to passing a home inspection without discovering any major problems. Talk with your agent about which contingencies you’d like to include.

Helping You Buy Your First Raleigh Area Home

Contact me, Jay Sutton, and the rest of the team at Sutton Realty Group if you’d like further help on navigating the market as a first-time home buyer.

We’ll work tirelessly for you to ensure that you not only avoid all of the above mentioned common pitfalls but also that you enjoy a successful first-time home buying experience in the Raleigh area!

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