No doubt about it – home buying is one of those major life milestones, and it can be easy to get caught up in it all and lose yourself a little in the process. There are so many steps and moving parts that, at times, you’ll feel like your world is spinning and you can’t stay on top of it all…. But that’s not the time to throw caution to the wind, or throw your hands in the air. Instead, avoid home buying mistakes and make sure your process stays grounded. Don’t create more drama for yourself than necessary by doing one – or all – of the following don’ts.
Don’t blow your budget. There’s a reason why you took such a detailed look at your finances and went through the process of creating a budget – and it’s because that’s what you can reasonably afford. But it’s funny how all that work can go out the window when you find a house that you absolutely adore and cannot live without, or you get talked into a loan that doesn’t work with your financials, or you put down more than expected and spend more on closing than you thought you would. Stay on target with your budget every step of the way… and if something threatens to take you off target, take a step back and re-evaluate.
Don’t work with a realtor you don’t trust. It’s okay to shop around for a realtor – you want to find one that you click with, and has your interests at heart. After all, this is going to be your home. So if you don’t gel with your agent, or they’re shifty, or you don’t trust their approach, find one who meets your standards. Ask for referrals, do your research, and find one that works with and for you.
Don’t be afraid to comparison shop for your loan. Again, this is a situation where shopping around can be of great benefit to you. You don’t always get the best rate right off the bat, so do your research and make sure you’re getting the best deal for you and your budget.
Don’t assume pre-approval means your loan is a lock. Yes, it’s a solid first step – but it’s a first step. Remember that pre-approval is a projection of what you can likely afford and potentially be approved for, but it’s not the official approval. You may face issues during closing that can derail your loan, particularly if you’ve had any changes to your debt to income ratio that have raised red flags for your lender. Do what you can to keep your credit situation absolutely stable until after the purchase.
Don’t forget to look outside the parameters of your new home. If you love the home but hate the neighborhood, are you really going to be happy there? If it’s in a great area but it’s on a busy street, will you get the sleep you need to make your early-morning call time? And what about your neighbors? Make sure you do your due diligence and research your home’s outlying areas, keeping note of the neighborhood, area schools and parks, noise and neighbors, and more that may impact your quality of life.
Don’t bypass your inspector. Getting a home inspection is a crucial part of closing, as an inspector can identify issues that may affect not just your home, but if the issue is big enough, it may impact the entire sale of the space. Don’t miss out on the chance to ensure everything from the electrical to the foundation is up to par – and if it’s not, talk with your realtor about next steps.