Dos and Don'ts for a First-Time Home Buyer
December 4, 2015
Purchasing a home for the first time is one of the most exciting and important decisions someone can make. Making a mistake in the process can be devastating. However, most first-time home buyer mistakes are easily avoidable with a little bit of research and guidance from a real estate professional. Here are a few dos and don’ts to help prepare first-time buyers.
Check out NAR's latest Real Insight Podcast which focuses on millennial buyers.
Don’t assume you are able to buy a home just because you have saved for the down payment. There will be other pre-buying expenses related to purchasing the home that you need to anticipate. Anticipating these costs and investing up front will make the loan process much easier. Make sure you check your credit score as well, because this will determine your interest rates and insurance costs.
Don’t make any huge purchases before you close. Lenders will re-check your debt load just before closing. If they see large additions to that load, they may back out on you, even at the last minute. Hold off on getting that new car, new furniture, new appliances, etc., until after you have closed.
Don’t underestimate the cost of home improvements. If you decide to purchase a fixer-upper, assume that any updates you plan to do will cost more and take more time than you budget. This may be true for smaller home projects, too, such as remodeling a bathroom or refinishing hardwood floors.
Don’t make an emotional purchase. You want to find a house that you love, but don’t let attachments to details fog your vision when it comes to making a smart financial investment.
Do take a long term outlook on your purchase. Things like the kind of neighborhood or quality of local schools may not matter to you if you don’t have a family. Extra bedrooms might also not seem too important. Your ability to resell your home, though, is. Think through how your home may work if your circumstances change or how easily you might be able to resell it if that is what is necessary.
Do choose the right lender. Look for one with a good reputation who delivers on their promises, especially in regard to the rate they offer and the timeliness of getting the loan in place.
Do work with a REALTOR®. There are a lot of complex avenues to navigate as you purchase a home, and a REALTOR® will be able to offer you guidance and resources to manage it well. Everything from finding the right house, to negotiating the deal, to walking you through closing costs, a REALTOR® is the most helpful asset to your investment. Taking your time to find the right person is important. Ask around for recommendations and interview a few agents. Find an agent whose schedule works with yours. Look for someone who has a personality you mesh with so the process can be as fun and smooth as possible.
Updated: February 14, 2020