As a segment of the First Time Home Buyer Series, I will be discussing the 5 common mistakes first time home buyers make & how you can avoid them.
1. Not getting your financing in line prior to start your home search
I love HGTV, but they have done home buyers a disservice with their unrealistic portrayal of the American couple. The idea that you can be a button collector & a dog walker yet have a budget up to $1,000,000 is obviously unrealistic.
While there is an exception to every rule, not everyone is as blessed with their budgets & making sure you are aware of yours is a very important factor. While many home buyers run their numbers & are financially literate – having your pre-approval will not only be able to set expectation for what you can reasonably afford it will be necessary when submitting offers. More to come on mortgage specifics..
2. Not hiring a REALTOR, or using an agent who isn’t knowledgeable in the market you are interested in
There is no bigger disservice a home buyer can do to themselves like hiring an inexperienced broker. Education, neighborhood knowledge, pricing guidance, & market expertise are a few things that a REALTOR brings to the table & necessary for a seamless transaction. Also, did you know that hiring a Realtor in Illinois is FREE? The listing brokerage pays the buyers agent their commission.
3. Being unprepared for the hidden costs of purchasing property
I have found a common theme with first time home buyers – they are generally aware of their budgets, but always unaware of all of the costs that are included in purchasing their properties & what funds they need to bring to the closing table (in addition to your down payment). These costs can include: property taxes, homeowners insurance, title insurance, origination fee, doc prep fee, etc. Long story short – be knowledgeable of all costs involved.
4. Holding out for a better deal
The condition of the market is something that can be sometimes volatile & will dictate the speed of search. I always recommend to reach out to a broker 9 months prior to a move, not because it should take that much time, but just so you have get all of your ducks in a row.
From contract to closing, Chicago lenders can close anywhere from 30-45 days, so it can be a fairly speedy process. Many buyers won’t offer on the first house they see as they feel something better is out there. The beauty of being prepared & be knowledgeable is that even if its the first house you physically see, sometimes it really is the best. The grass isn’t always greener.
5. Not being prepared and/or being impulsive
The hardest part of home shopping for buyers can be the struggle to remain unattached & unemotional. Purchasing a home is likely one of your biggest commitments you can make & obviously you will become immersed in the deal. Don’t let your heart overtake your head. Be ready with all of your financials in line & look at it as an investment, because at the end of the day – It’s likely the biggest investment you will be making.
While home ownership can be a scary thing, it doesn’t have to be. If you can avoid these 5 common mistakes first time home buyers make, then you are already setting yourself up for success.