Ready to buy your first home and can’t wait to get started? We don’t blame you! But opening the door to first-time homeownership can be every bit as frightening as it is fabulous. Don’t get caught up in the fears of your first major purchase. Trust your instincts, and when all else fails: fall back on this list of Simple Mistakes First-time Homebuyers Make to help you avoid heartache and hassle down the line! (Of course, it never hurts to have a trusted RE/MAX of Grand Rapids agent by your side, either!)
Mistake #1: Underestimating The Market
Here in West Michigan, buyers are still at the mercy of a low-inventory seller’s market. And while that doesn’t mean you should halt your home search, it does mean you need to understand the competitiveness of the market. If you fall in love with a home, be prepared to act with a sense of urgency. Most often, potential West Michigan homebuyers don’t get the chance to waffle on a decision, especially in popular neighborhoods with great school districts. Be prepared to make an offer the day (or night) of your showing if it’s a home you simply can’t live without, and be prepared mentally for how much (potentially even above-ask) you’re willing to pay.
Mistake #2: Buying With A Short-Term Vision
Sure, that flip house with all the perfect finishes to make your HGTV-loving heart flutter is gorgeous. But before you get charmed by the cosmetics of a home, be sure to ask yourself the tough questions that’ll tell you if a house could be yours for the long haul. Consider things like: if we decide to have kids, is this house in a good school district? Do we have enough bedrooms if we decide to grow our family even more? Is there enough outdoor space if we decide to get a dog? Even if you’re not there now, you’ll thank yourself later when you’ve planned ahead and purchased a home that’ll fit your family for years and years to come.
Mistake #3: Waiting On The Wishlist
There’s nothing wrong with knowing what you want in your first home. And whether that means a big backyard for your dogs to run free or an open concept living space, your preferences in a potential home are most important. But don’t get rattled by the rookie mistake of holding out for every last item on that beloved wishlist. Prioritize your preferences into “wants” and “needs” so you know where you’ll be willing to settle for “almost perfect” and where you simply can’t see yourself budging. This will help give you a more realistic picture if your hopes for your dream house aren’t quite matching up with your budget.
Mistake #4: Passing On Pre-Approval
When starting the search for your first home, checking off the list of early to-do’s can seem daunting. But, before you even think of setting foot inside a showing, be sure to go through the process of lining up your financing and getting pre-approved for your mortgage. By choosing the right lender and getting pre-approved, you’ll not only have a more realistic grasp on your home budget, but you’ll be prepped and ready to purchase should you fall in love with a home that’ll fly off the market quickly.
Mistake #5: Inviting The Whole Entourage
We get it, first-timers: making a purchase as important as your first real home can be intimidating and leave you feeling in need of a second (or third!) opinion. But, when possible, leave the heavy-lifting in the decision-making process to you and your home buying partner. While it may seem tempting to invite mom, dad, sis, the in-laws, and your favorite childhood friend to weigh in on the matter, bringing too big an entourage to showings can be distracting and downright frustrating. Trust your gut and the expertise of your realtor and follow your heart to the first-ever home of your dreams!