There are a lot of potential pitfalls to avoid when you're buying your first home, and this is a big one: paying too much. First-time home buyers often end up paying thousands more than an experienced buyer would end up paying, and our REALTORS® don't want that to happen to you. Here's how to avoid overpaying for your first home.
- Know What You're Looking For
You shouldn't go into a supermarket without a shopping list, and you shouldn't go house hunting without knowing exactly what your new home has to have. Make two lists, one entitled "needs" and one entitled "desires," and use these lists to evaluate every home you're interested in. In a perfect world, you'll find a house that checks every box on both lists, but at the end of the day, needs are more important than wants.
- Mortgage First, Home Later
Before you go out looking for a house, get your finances in order and obtain pre-approval for a mortgage. This will give you a solid idea of what you can afford, and allow you to cross out any home that is simply outside of your price range. Keep in mind, though, that just because you've been pre-approved for a certain amount doesn't mean you have to spend every penny of it. Staying under your budget will give you more money left over for the ongoing costs of homeownership.
- Don't Go It Alone
An experienced real estate agent can be a huge help. From obtaining a mortgage and finding the right home to negotiating the deal and overseeing an inspection, having a winning team behind you will make the entire process easier and less stressful.
- Don't Get Too Emotional
Look, buying a home can be a very emotional process, and that's okay. But it's important not to let your feelings for a particular house cloud your judgement. Refer to that list of "needs" and "desires" you made, and use it to avoid falling head-over-heels for a house that doesn't meet all your requirements.
- Watch For Red Flags
Most houses aren't perfect, and there's nothing wrong with buying a fixer-upper as long as you're truly ready to take on the responsibility of fixing it up. That being said, there are repairs you should be prepared to make and some that you should walk away from. Worn carpets, outdated fixtures, peeling paint, worn carpeting—these are all fixable, and you may even be able to use them as negotiating tools to reduce the home's sale price. But if there are major roof issues, cracks in the foundation, indications of widespread water damage or dry rot, these are signs that it's time to look elsewhere.
- Don't Skip the Inspection
It's true that a home inspection costs money, and it's easy to think of it as an unnecessary expense. The truth is, it's anything but unnecessary. A thorough inspection can uncover serious defects in a house, and the cost of hiring inspector (usually a few hundred dollars) is nothing compared to the cost of buying a house only to discover later that it needs major repairs.
If you're in the process of looking for Mansfield homes for sale, we want to make sure you get your dream home, but we're also committed to helping you avoid overpaying for it. Contact us today to learn more about how our experienced team of real estate agents can help!