Homeownership is the ultimate goal for many, especially for Millennials. Today’s young adults struggle to afford houses because of stagnant wages and high costs of living, among other things. So when the time comes when they’ve finally saved enough for a down payment on a house and find a property that checks all of their requirements, they grab the chance right away. They buy the house with no thought other than to finally, finally, become a homeowner.
Sadly, many first-time house buyers overlook a few things in their excitement to close a deal. Here are four mistakes many of them do that you need to avoid:
1. Skipping on the pest, mold, and sewer inspections.
Yes, they are additional expenses on an already hefty bill from your real estate agent and mortgage lender. Still, they are necessary because they prevent you from spending even more than you can afford a few months down the road. Bear in mind that house sellers will always shine the spotlight on the finer points of a property. While upstanding sellers and agents will not hide the problems of the house, neither will they volunteer the information and expound on them for good measure. A more common scenario is that sellers will keep mum on existing or recurring problems until the buyer brings it up. So don’t make the mistake of pinching pennies where it matters. Hire inspectors to check for pest nests and infestation, mold growth, and sewer blockages.
2. Assessing the house, but not the neighborhood.
First-time homeowners tend to be very excited at the thought of owning, decorating, and furnishing their own homes that they forget to scrutinize their immediate surroundings. That is potentially dangerous; you could be stuck in a community with very low real estate value, high crime rates, or a widespread pest problem. So study the neighborhood and learn everything about it. For example, if you buy a house in Utah, you should know that termites are a huge problem in many counties like Brigham, Logan, South Ogden, and Salt Lake City. You’ll then see that you should hire a termite control specialist or inspector to check if you’ll be having this problem soon if it’s not there already.
- Not hiring a real estate agent. Just like with the pest and house inspections, buyers who want to keep their housing costs as low as possible might decide not to hire an agent. Unless you are the preferred buyer of a seller whom you already know, buying a house without a real estate agent can take so much time just finding the right property. Buying property on your own could also make you lose out on the services real estate agents offer, like opening an escrow account, negotiating for a lower price, and helping you get approved for a mortgage.
- Not getting pre-approved. Many banks and lending institutions offer pre-approval programs to help aspiring homeowners find out exactly how much they can receive if they will apply for a home loan. Lenders can also advise you on what to do so that you can be approved for a bigger loan. More importantly, lenders can use your pre-approval results as a basis for granting your mortgage application.
Your experience as a first-time house buyer ought to be pleasant, joyful, and stress-free. One way to make this happen is to avoid the common mistakes discussed above.