5 Common First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes to Avoid

The prospect of buying your first home is both exciting and nerve-wracking. On one hand, owning your own house is the final step of financial independence. You’re no longer accountable to a landlord and their rental agreement. On the other hand, buying a home is a huge financial decision that will determine where you live for the next several years.

As a first-time buyer, there’s a lot to learn about buying a house. You’ll often hear homeowners say, “I wish I knew that before buying this house.” So, in this article, we’re going to give you some common mistakes that first-time buyers make so you can have the best possible experience in the home buying process.  

1. Underestimating the costs

When first-time buyers get preapproved for a mortgage, they sometimes see this as permission to spend whatever amount they’re approved for. However, even after closing costs, there are a number of other expenses you’ll need to account for in your budget.

You’ll be responsible for maintenance, utilities, taxes, and repairing things when they get old. If all of your money is tied up just paying your mortgage and other bills, you won’t have anything left over to maintain your house.

Furthermore, living your life just to make your mortgage payments is draining. Instead, buy a house that gives you enough room to save for retirement, vacations, a family, or whatever else you see in your future.

2. Prequalify first

Before you start shopping for homes, make sure you meet some basic prerequisites. You’ll need a solid credit score, steady income history, and money saved for a down payment. You might set yourself up for disappointment looking at homes that are outside of your spending limit if you don’t get prequalified first.

3. This probably isn’t your last home

While it’s okay to dream about the future, don’t set unrealistic expectations for your first home. You can always upgrade later on, and building equity in your first home is a good way to help you do that.

4. Don’t get too attached to your “dream home”

So, you’ve been shopping around for a few weeks and finally found the perfect house. If everything goes well your offer could get accepted. But if it doesn’t, don’t worry about it. There are constantly new houses appearing on the market, and there’s a good chance you’ll like one even more than this one.

5. Don’t waive contingencies without good reason

Contingencies are there to protect you. They might seem like a way to needlessly complicate a contract. Or, you might think that waiving them makes you look better in the eyes of the seller. However, both sellers and their agents know that contingencies serve an important purpose.

The three main contingencies you’ll want when buying a home are an appraisal contingency, financing contingency, and an inspection contingency. Unless you’re buying under special circumstances, you’ll want to keep all three in your contract. 

Quick Landscaping and Curb Appeal Fixes

Creating just the right amount of curb appeal can be a delicate balance, but one thing’s for sure: Many real estate agents firmly believe that it is the most important factor affecting how long a property remains on the market. That being the case, it’s a phase of preparing your home for sale that you don’t want to neglect or put on “the back burner.”

If your home and property is in reasonably good condition, it may be possible to give it some extra eye-appeal without going overboard on the cost. Here are a few curb-appeal basics to consider as you get your house ready for the real estate market.

Painting: If it’s been more than a few years since the outside of your home has been painted, it may be time to either repaint the entire exterior (which won’t be cheap) or do some extensive “touching up.” Sometimes, simply repainting window trim, shutters, and the front door can help visibly improve the overall appearance of your property. In general, peeling or fading paint will negatively impact the marketability of your home, so it’s an issue worth addressing early on.

Power washing: A professional power-washing service can remove unsightly stains, layers of dirt, and discoloration from concrete surfaces, fences, roofs, garages, garage doors, and your home’s exterior. One cautionary note about power washing: Applying too much water pressure can potentially cause damage to materials like loose roof shingles, older painted surfaces, crumbling concrete, old slate flooring, untreated wood, and aging fences. Special instructions may need to be given to workers and their manager, regarding delicate surfaces and the need to adjust water pressure accordingly.

Front porch: There are a lot of nice touches you can add to a front porch to make it look more inviting and visually appealing. In addition to making sure floors, steps, railings, windows, and furniture are immaculate, inexpensive upgrades, such as a new welcome mat, mailbox, and house numbers can also make a noticeable difference in the impression you create. Weather permitting, colorful potted or hanging flower baskets will enhance the aesthetic appeal of your property. As is the case with interior home staging, strategically arranging furniture can help prospective buyers imagine themselves relaxing on your porch and elsewhere in your house. That can be a key step in triggering their interest.

Landscaping: When your house is on the market, it’s crucial to keep your lawn and shrubs looking manicured at all times. Any hint of overgrowth, dying trees, or weeds can send the wrong message to potential buyers about the quality and desirability of your home. Edging for lawns, flower beds, and sidewalks can often be a relatively inexpensive way to enhance the eye appeal of your property.

A seasoned real estate agent can provide you with more cost-effective ideas on sprucing up the outside of your house to attract prospective buyers.

Is Now the Right Time to Host a Home Showing?

If you want to accomplish your desired results during the home selling journey, you should strive to host lots of showings. Fortunately, we’re here to help you prepare for home showings and ensure you are ready to host showings at any time.

Now, let’s take a look at three tips to help you prepare for a home showing.

1. Keep Your Home Neat and Tidy

Let’s face it – maintaining a pristine home can be difficult. But if you allocate time and energy to perform various home maintenance tasks daily, you can keep your home show-ready.

Cleaning up after yourself can make a world of difference. For instance, wiping down kitchen countertops after cooking a meal enables you to avoid a long, arduous kitchen clean-up at a later time.

You also may want to create a home cleaning schedule. By planning daily or weekly chores like vacuuming the rugs or cleaning the bathroom, you can ensure your house will look great at all times.

2. Be Flexible

If a homebuyer submits a last-minute request for a home showing, it generally is a good idea to try to accommodate the buyer’s request. By doing so, you can show your home to many prospective buyers and increase the likelihood of receiving an offer to purchase.

A flexible home seller usually is a successful home seller. Therefore, if a buyer wants to view your home, it is important to remember that each showing brings you one step closer to selling your residence.

Ultimately, if you maintain flexibility, you can make it easy for dozens of potential buyers to view your residence. And as a result, you may be able to accelerate the home selling process.

3. Eliminate Clutter

Clutter is something that all home sellers can live without. Because if a home is filled with clutter, it may be tough for prospective buyers to appreciate the full size and beauty of a residence.

For home sellers, it is important to remove clutter immediately. A home seller can rent a storage unit to hold excess items until his or her residence sells. Or, it may be beneficial to host a yard sale or list excess items online to cut down on clutter.

As you prepare to sell your home, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. In fact, a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you achieve the optimal results during any home showing.

Typically, a real estate agent will offer recommendations and tips to help you prepare your residence for the housing market. If you receive a request to view your home, a real estate agent will notify you accordingly. And after a home showing is complete, a real estate agent will provide you with unbiased feedback to ensure you can update your property selling strategy as needed.

Ready to host a home showing? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can get ready to showcase your residence to potential buyers and bolster your chances of enjoying a fast, profitable house selling experience.

Avoid a House Selling Crisis

Selling a house may prove to be problematic, particularly for individuals who fail to allocate time and resources to learn about the real estate market. Lucky for you, we’re here to help you navigate the housing sector and ensure you can avoid home selling crises.

Now, let’s take a look at three tips to help you list your residence and maximize its value.

1. Create an Informative House Listing

Think about your house’s pros and cons. Then, you can put together an informative home listing that makes it easy for buyers to fall in love with your residence.

Of course, when you craft a home listing, it pays to be honest. If you include pertinent, accurate house information in your listing, you can help buyers determine whether your residence is the right choice.

Don’t forget to incorporate high-resolution photos into your house listing too. If you include home listing photos that showcase the size and beauty of your house, many buyers soon could set up showings to view your residence.

2. Conduct a House Appraisal

When it comes to selling your house, it helps to establish an aggressive initial asking price. That way, you can list your house at a price that matches or exceeds buyers’ expectations.

Establishing an aggressive initial asking price for your home, however, may prove to be difficult. But if you conduct a house appraisal, you can get a home valuation from a property expert to help you set a fair price for your residence.

In many instances, a homeowner can receive a house appraisal report within a few days. Once you have this report at your disposal, you can review your property valuation and set an aggressive initial asking price for your home.

3. Employ a Real Estate Agent

There is no need to embark on the home selling journey alone. Thankfully, you can hire a real estate agent who is unafraid to be honest with you at each stage of the home selling cycle.

A real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to sell a house, regardless of the present housing market’s conditions. As such, he or she will work with you to determine the best way to streamline the home selling journey.

Oftentimes, a real estate agent will learn about you and your home selling goals. He or she then will craft a custom home selling strategy designed to help you achieve the optimal results. Next, a real estate agent will promote your residence to dozens of potential buyers and set up home showings and open house events. And if you receive an offer to purchase your home, a real estate agent will help you examine the pros and cons of this proposal and make an informed decision.

Don’t let problems get the best of you during the home selling journey. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you can reduce the risk of problems that otherwise can prevent you from enjoying a fast, profitable house selling experience.