Perhaps the only thing more exciting than buying a home that's new to you is buying a home that's new to everyone. A brand-new home is a blank slate, inviting you to make it your own -- but it's also a huge investment that could go drastically wrong if you let it. Here are four surprisingly common mistakes to avoid when shopping for a new home.
1. Not Working With a Realty Service
If you're staring at new home sales listings with the intention of doing your own homework, negotiations and closing, you're making one of the worst mistakes any new home buyer can make. Realty services not only make the entire process infinitely easier for buyers, but they also help the buyers sidestep expensive errors all along the way. Real estate services make such important contributions as:
- Helping you prepare a complete, sensible list of "must-haves"
- Educating you on property values and new home sales prices in various neighborhoods
- Helping you choose a home in a good school zone
- Warning you about potential pitfalls and things to watch out for while shopping
- Negotiating with an air of knowledge and experience to help you get the most home for your money
2. Not Getting Pre-Approved
Becoming enamored with the new home of your dreams is a heady experience, but it might buy you nothing but disappointment in the long run. It's one thing to know exactly what kind of home you want, and quite another to know exactly how much home you can comfortably afford. New home sales are major purchases that typically impact their owners' finances for decades. Buying beyond your comfortable means could make your life miserable as you struggle to scrape the mortgage payments together. Additionally, there's no point in falling in love with a home that's completely out of your reach.
Getting pre-approved for a loan at your financial institution is a must if you want to avoid this kind of heartbreak. While the amount is hardly set in stone, it at least gives you an idea of which new home sales are likely to suit your budget. Realty services use these numbers to narrow down the list of properties for their clients to investigate, saving time, money and effort.
3. Not Hiring an Inspector
Too many buyers of new homes assume that "new" automatically means "flawless." But structural, electrical, plumbing and other problems don't always take years to develop; in many cases they're present in the home right from the beginning. You can't know for sure what state your prospective dwelling is in unless you hire a home inspector to give it a thorough once-over. If you fail to take this critical step, you could easily find yourself living in a gorgeous money pit.
If your home inspector comes up with more than a handful of issues that require correction, you need to compile these points onto something called a punch list. A punch list is a "to do" list that your contractor needs to honor before he's entitled to final payment for his work. This condition should be written into the contract drawn up between yourself and the contractor.
4. Underestimating the Responsibilities of Home Ownership
If you're buying your first home after years of living in apartments, you may be so focused on the purchase of the home that you fail to consider all the other issues involved in home ownership. If you don't (or can't) adjust your budget to account for the costs of repairs, property taxes, and other necessary expenses, you may find yourself watching helplessly as your beautiful residence slowly falls apart.
The fact that you're now rooted to one spot is another consideration that's all too easy to overlook until it's too late. Nomadic individuals may feel trapped or stuck once they've shifted from apartment living to homeownership. Think carefully about whether you're really ready to make this kind of transition to a more settled existence.
From enlisting the right professional aid to making sound financial decisions, you have the power to make your new home purchase a wonderful experience rather than a pricey mistake. For more information and tips, contact local realty services.