7 Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Buying Your First Home

Buying your first home is an important investment decision that comes with a steep learning curve.

Educating yourself on the real estate market, total costs of homeownership and available financing resources can give you an edge when shopping for your dream home. So before you sign on the dotted line, consider these common pitfalls and how to avoid them:


1. Overestimating What You Can Afford

Make sure to review the total cost of buying a home alongside your budget to avoid ending up house-rich and cash-poor. Don’t forget about expenses related to home maintenance, taxes and insurance, and consider looking into first-time homebuyer programs or special benefits you might be able to take advantage of.

2. Failing to Communicate What’s Important to You

Make your life easier and communicate anything and everything that is important to you with your agent from the get-go.

3. Overextending Credit too Early in the Process

Just because someone is willing to loan you more than you need does not mean you should take it. Interest is not your friend—make sure to think long term about how much that extra credit may cost you later on.

4. Assuming Your First Offer Will Be Accepted

You may be competing with other bidders, or the seller may come back with a counteroffer. Use your agent as a guide throughout the process.

Sea View

5. Skipping the Home Inspection

It is important to be aware of the risks of a home. Waiving an inspection allows the seller to only share problems that are visible and of immediate risk. You may end up buying an as-is home that has significant electrical or plumbing issues, which now become your (expensive) problem.

6. Not Include a Financing Contingency in the Contract

Getting feedback that you have been pre-approved or pre-qualified for a loan does not mean that you are guaranteed the money. If your ability to purchase a home relies on securing financing, make sure your contract is contingent on loan approval. In other words, if your funding source falls through, make sure you have the option to make a clean exit.

7. Locking In Your Rate Too Soon

If you lock in your loan rate early in the process or get a rate lock for a particular amount of time, it may expire before both parties are ready to close and extending it can be expensive.

While buying your first home may seem daunting, understanding and recognizing these pitfalls can help you feel empowered to make this big decision with confidence. Happy house hunting!

To learn more about buying a home, check out Playbook: Your Guide to Life & Money, a resource to help you navigate life milestones with confidence.


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