Sheryl Simon's Blog
Buying your first home is undoubtedly a long and complex process for someone who has little to no experience in the subject. Your average first-time homeowner learns as they go, with the help of their real estate agent and mortgage lender.
But, even so, first-time buyers often make many mistakes along the way that they could have avoided with prior knowledge and preparation.
In today’s article, we’re going to cover 5 of the most common mistakes that first-time homebuyers make when purchasing a home. From the first house you look at up until closing on your first home, we’ll cover common mistakes from each step of the way to give you the knowledge you need to make the best home buying decisions.
1. Shopping for homes preemptively
Once you decide that you’re interested in potentially buying a home in the near future, it’s tempting to hop online and start looking at listings. But, searching for your dream home at this stage is a poor use of your time.
It’s best to use this time to start thinking about the bigger picture. Have you secured financial aspects of owning a home, such as a down payment, a solid credit score, and two years of steady employment history?
You’ll also need to have a clear picture of what you want your life to look like for the next 5-7 years. Will you still want to live in the same area, or will your job lead you elsewhere?
These are all questions to ask yourself before you start house hunting that will inform your process along the way and make your hunt a lot easier.
2. Not knowing your budget
It’s a common mistake for first-time buyers to go into the house hunting process without a clearly mapped budget. You want to make sure that after all of your expenses (mortgage payment, utilities, bills, debt, etc.) that you still have leftover income for savings, retirement, and an emergency fund.
Make a detailed spreadsheet of your expenses and determine how much you can afford each month before you start shopping for mortgages.
3. Borrowing the maximum amount
While it may be tempting to buy the most expensive house you can get approved for, there are a number of reasons this might be a bad idea for you, financially. Stretching your budget each month is putting yourself at risk for not being able to contribute to savings, retirement, and emergency funds.
Furthermore, you may find that the extra square-footage you purchased wasn’t worth having to cut corners in other areas of your life, like hobbies, entertainment, and dining out.
4. Forgetting important expenses
If you’re currently renting an apartment, you might be unaware of some of the lesser-known costs of homeownership. Your chosen lender will provide you with an estimate of the closing costs, which you’ll have to budget for.
However, there are also maintenance, repairs, utilities, and other bills that you’ll have to figure into your monthly budget.
5. Waiving contingencies or giving the benefit of the doubt
While it may seem like an act of goodwill to give the seller the benefit of the doubt when it comes to things like home inspections, it’s usually a bad idea to waive contingencies.
The process of purchasing a home, along with a purchase contract, have been designed to protect both your interests and the seller’s interests. It isn’t selfish to want to know exactly what you’re getting into when making a purchase as significant as a home.
Do you need a body workout and the gym is far away, or you can't afford to pay for a gym? Why not try using your local park. You don't need to register for or pay out anything or follow anyone's routine. You need to get a pair of sneakers, a bottle of water and your headset. Then you are ready to work out at the perfect time that will be comfortable for you. You can make your local park the perfect workout venue.
Warm in the park by jumping rope, jogging, and running. The park benches, swings, and monkey bars are everything you need to have a successful body workout.
- Park bench: There are numerous workouts you can do using the park benches: Toe-Tap. Alternating Step downs. Push Ups. Mountain Climbers. Step Ups and Tap Ups. Triceps Dip. Bench Jump. Elevated Back Lunge
- Swings: A swing supports different workouts such as: Split Squat. Knee Tucks. Swing row. Criss-Cross
Strengthening your core at the local park has fantastic health benefits. Your core muscles are the flexible connectors of your upper and lower body. Properly built up core muscles increase your body’s strength. A stable core also improves stability and balance, helping to prevent falls or injuries during sports and athletic activities. Having a robust and flexible core improves almost everything you do:
- It helps protect the central nervous system and internal organs in the body.
- It helps prevent future injuries by strengthening your muscles and making you less prone to injuries.
- It reduces back and body pains.
- It improves your posture.
- It helps you look good and feel great.
- It makes the muscles work perfectly together.
- It enhances the respiratory system.
- It helps in reduction of body fats and weight loss.
- It increases inner energy.
- It makes you physically, mentally, and emotionally stable.
- It saves money and the stress of finding a good fitness club or gym to join.
- It aids in burning the calories in your body.
- It helps you socialize with the people living in your community.
- It helps in reducing depression, anger, and stress.
- It helps in reducing belly fat thereby flattening it.
These benefits should be a driving force enough to motivate anybody to go directly to a local park to strengthen their core. Besides, working out at the local park is a great way to meet neighbors with similar interests and goals in your new community.
Your real estate professional may know of groups that workout in your park or near to your new home, so don’t forget to use them as a resource to learn about your new city.
If your children's playroom is also the guest room or family room or office, you need lots of organization to keep all its uses available at a moment's notice. But busting your budget for fancy boxes and bins is entirely out of the question. A quick trip to the dollar store offers up a trove of options to fit your needs.• Use shower caddies to hold toys and craft items.
- Plastic bins work great to organize blocks, Legos, and other building pieces.
- Small bins separate pens, pencils, crayons, glue sticks, and brushes from other supplies.
- Over-the-door shoe holders hold action figures, fashion dolls or dolls’ dresses.
- Large tubs make great homes for stuffed animals.
- Square cubby bins hold dress-up clothes and costumes.
- Plastic crates make an excellent home for play kitchen sets and dishes. Hang smaller containers on removable hooks alongside the play kitchen.
- Place a hanging organizer in the closet and fill it with games.
- Keep color books or comic books in magazine boxes.
Often, baskets and bins come in matching or contrasting color groups. If they are visible in the room, mix and match the larger items artfully on shelving or along the wall, under a table that doubles as a desk or in a closet. Stack lidded bins to keep them organized and label them to make putting items away easier. All these containers are easy grab-and-go items when you need to switch your room's use.
If you’re setting up a play place for grandchildren, fill the baskets and bins with a variety of color books, crayons, and games. Keep a stock of small toys and make each visit special by offering up a new surprise. Then, when the grandchildren are away, whisk the bins into a cabinet or under a bed and, voila, you have your office or guest room back.
As children mature and move on to crafts and hobbies, add a magnetic spice rack to hold beads and baubles, model parts, and other small objects. Place a clear strip of tape on each container and write on it with a permanent marker, so you know what's in it. If you change out the contents, peel off the tape and add a new piece with the new label.
When they reach the age they no longer need a playroom, re-purpose the bins into a homework station to hold pens, tape, paper, and notebooks.
If you’ve always wanted a dedicated playroom in your home, your realtor can show you homes that fill the bill.
If you get an offer to buy your house, there is no need to make a snap decision. Instead, it generally is a good idea to allocate the necessary time and resources to analyze an offer and determine the best course of action.
Ultimately, there are lots of reasons why you should analyze a home offer, and these include:
1. You can boost the likelihood of getting the best price for your house.
An offer may fall at, above or below your house's initial asking price. However, regardless of the offer that you receive, it pays to perform a full evaluation to ensure you can maximize the value of your residence.
For many home sellers, it is beneficial to conduct a home appraisal prior to listing a residence. That way, when a home offer arrives, a seller can compare the proposal to a property valuation and proceed accordingly.
2. You can weigh the pros and cons of all of your options.
Let's face it – deciding whether to accept, reject or counter a homebuying proposal can be tough. Luckily, analyzing an offer enables you to weight the pros and cons of each option, making it easier than ever before to make an informed choice.
Oftentimes, creating a list of pros and cons can be helpful. This list will enable you to assess the advantages and disadvantages of each potential home selling decision. Then, you can use your list to guide the decision-making process.
3. You can receive expert housing market insights before you finalize your decision.
Imagine what it would be like to take a data-driven approach to decide whether to approve a homebuying proposal. Now, you can, thanks to the wealth of housing market data that is readily available to sellers.
As a home seller, you should have no trouble examining the prices of comparable houses that recently sold in your city or town. You then can use this housing market data to determine whether a proposal is "fair" based on the current real estate market's conditions.
Of course, as you assess a home offer, it often helps to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional knows exactly what it takes to sell a house – regardless of the real estate market's conditions. As such, he or she will enable you to conduct an in-depth review of any homebuying proposal, at any time.
A real estate agent also is happy to help you after you determine whether to accept, reject or counter a proposal. If you accept an offer, a real estate agent will help you move forward with the home selling journey. Or, if you reject an offer, a real estate agent will show you how to promote your house to potential buyers to boost your chances of receiving better proposals in the future. And if you counter an offer, a real estate agent can negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf.
Evaluate a home offer closely – you'll be glad you did. If you perform a deep analysis of a homebuying proposal, you can assess a home offer from multiple angles and make the best-possible decision based on your individual needs.
If you want to acquire the best house at the lowest price, it pays to conduct an in-depth home search. In fact, there are many reasons why you should perform a comprehensive house search, and these include:
1. You can define your dream house.
For those who enter the housing market without a clear-cut definition of a "dream home," there is no need to worry. If you perform an extensive house search, you'll be better equipped than ever before to differentiate home must-haves from wants.
Ultimately, the definition of a dream home varies from buyer to buyer. As you map out your homebuying journey, it helps to put together a list of house must-haves and wants so you can tailor your home search accordingly.
Once you determine what you want to find in your dream house, you can assess the housing market and search for your ideal home. Then, when you locate your ideal residence, you should have no trouble submitting a competitive offer and moving one step closer to buying your dream house.
2. You can avoid the dangers associated with paying too much for a home.
Oftentimes, it is easy to attend a home showing and submit an offer on a home. But if you do so without performing housing market research, you risk overspending to purchase your ideal residence.
When it comes to determining the best price for a house, it helps to look closely at real estate market data. This information can help you differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market, analyze the prices of houses in your city and town and much more. Perhaps most important, reviewing housing market data may enable you to avoid the temptation to spend too much to acquire your dream home.
3. You can reduce the risk of purchasing a home that fails to meet your expectations.
An in-depth home search reduces the risk that you'll be forced to "settle" for a home that fails to meet your expectations. Instead, you can allocate plenty of time and resources to search far and wide for your ideal residence. And if you find your dream home, you can rest assured that you'll be able to purchase this residence and enjoy it for years to come.
Clearly, there is a lot to think about if you intend to buy a house in the foreseeable future. But if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can receive expert support at each stage of the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent will learn about you and your homebuying goals. Next, this housing market professional will keep you informed about available houses in your preferred cities and towns and set up home showings. A real estate agent will even help you submit offers on houses and ensure you can get the best price on any residence, at any time.
Take the guesswork out of buying a house – consult with a real estate agent today, and you can get the help you need to make your homeownership dream come true.