Buying a home can be an overwhelming, exciting, nerve-racking, mistake making, learn-as-you-go process. Whether you’re doing it with the help of a realtor or attempting to go solo (we recommend the former) there are a lot of things that go into a successful home purchase. Here are 7 things that previous homeowners wish someone would have told them about navigating the real estate market. Hopefully, it can help you avoid some of the obstacles and roadblocks that they ran into.
1. “We were so set on living really close to my job that we discounted a lot of really great properties without even seeing them. We were dead set on having a short commute to work, that when our real estate agent gently suggested we look at other properties just 10-15 minutes further away, we refused. I feel like we probably missed out on some pretty great homes. Next time, I’ll expand my horizons a little. We ended up living in Mirador South Beach and love it, but I’ll always wonder “what if…?” Kate and Steve V.
2. “I wish we wouldn’t have borrowed all of the money we were approved for. It never crossed our mind to look at homes under the amount of our loan, and we ended up with a pretty big house, which means pretty big payments. I wish we would have bought a slightly cheaper home and had money to spend on other important things, like putting furniture in it.” Mark and Amy H.
3. “If I could go back, I’d pay a little more attention to the neighbors and the community. We have four little kids (and one on the way!) and are in a neighborhood of mostly older families and retirees. Our kids don’t have a lot of friends to play with, and I feel bad about that. I’d recommend checking out the people and amenities the neighborhood has to offer before sealing the deal” James and Becky E.
4. “I was reckless and a little irresponsible in my 20’s, and my credit score suffered. If I could go back I’d change two things: not be so crazy with my credit card, and look into my credit score and do my best to improve the score before lenders and loan officers start digging into it” Brian C.
5. “I had no idea the process was going to take so long. I thought we’d save the money, drive around and look at houses, find one we like, sign on the dotted line and move in. It’s not like that, at all. I wish someone would have told me that it could take a really long time, that there are a lot of processes and steps that are required” Amy and Eric A.
6. “I saw the big yard, the gorgeous walk-in shower in the master and the adorable fireplace and I was sold. It was a little over our budget, it was a little far from where I worked, and the school’s weren’t perfect, but I was excited. Now I’ve got a lot of yard work to do, and little things have popped up that need my attention that I didn’t notice initially. I feel stuck in a place that is far from work and turning into a lot of work. I’d tell first-time homeowners to not decide right away, to go home and think about it, weigh your options, and get advice from parents and people you trust." Michael M.
7. “Just because a home is new doesn’t mean it is free of problems. We ended up buying new appliances because the home didn’t have them yet, we had to hire someone to do a lot of work to the lawn, and about six months into living there, we found some small issues that weren’t addressed during construction. I would tell first time home buyers to look at both new and older homes, and anticipate putting time and money into either one before it’s perfect.” Brad and Chris B.
We’ve all been taught to learn from our mistakes, but it’s even better when you can learn from the mistakes of others. Being aware of some of these common obstacles that first-time homebuyers run into can help you avoid them and make the process run as smoothly as possible. Doing a little bit of extra research, getting advice from people you trust, maintaining a sense of humor, flexibility and patience will make a major difference in your first home buying experience.