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mistakes to avoid house hunt

Mistakes to avoid when house hunting

When you’re shopping for a new home, your mind will likely be full of information from online searches, professionals, and friends and family. Home buying can be an overwhelming process, so it’s understandable to feel the need to make it as short and sweet as possible. The less time you spend involved in the market, the less stress you’ll have, right? While you should try to be efficient, you don’t want to move too fast, or you might make some huge errors. In fact, there are a lot of mistakes to avoid when you’re house hunting.

True, the market is competitive. It’s not a good idea to procrastinate and delay when there are so few homes available. On the other hand, rushing the process might put you deeper into trouble if you miss some key steps. 

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when you start your house hunt.

Having an unclear budget

Unfortunately, it’s not good enough to have a “rough estimate” of what you can afford when you’re buying a home. If you’re unsure what your exact budget is, you’ll find yourself in a grey area. You’ll constantly be asking yourself if you could afford this home, or that home.

Not knowing your budget wastes time during the house hunting process if you end up looking at homes you can’t truly afford. You might fall in love with a home you can’t have, which will only lead to frustration and potential disappointment in the homes you actually can afford. 

Figuring out a budget takes time at the beginning of your house hunting journey. However, it saves you making a major mistake when the time comes to house hunt. With a firm budget, you’ll only look at suitable homes, and you’ll know when to draw the line on prices.

Not getting pre-approved

A mortgage pre-approval is a big part of understanding your budget before you start house hunting. When you work with a mortgage broker, they help you figure out what a lender might be willing to offer you. They also guide you with your down payment, and look at your credit score, income, and debts.

Skipping this process is one of the largest mistakes to avoid when house hunting. If you go into the market without a pre-approval, your mortgage application might be rejected once you find a home you want. Lenders take many factors into consideration. Brokers would have walked you through any potential issues to help you avoid surprises. A pre-approval helps you prepare because it gives you time to work out any problems prior to applying for a mortgage.

Not having a pre-approval will also make sellers wary of you as a potential buyer. They’re less likely to take you seriously as a candidate, and might pass over you for someone more prepared.

Getting distracted by staging

When people sell their home, they want you to love how it looks and see its appeal. Sellers often hire stagers to set up their homes in an aesthetically pleasing way, to make it more attractive to buyers. It’s a mistake to get distracted by how nice a staged home looks. This probably isn’t how the sellers lived, and the home won’t come this way if you buy it. Look beyond the setup and examine the bones of the home.

Not getting an inspection

Have you ever had a leak or an issue with mould in your current home? If so, they were probably easy enough to hide if you had people over, for example. A home might look perfect from the outside, or even during a tour, but that’s not a guarantee there’s no hidden issues. One of the biggest mistakes to avoid when buying a home is to skip out on a home inspection

A home inspection is a vital part of making sure a house is up to your standards. Hire an inspector to do a thorough walk-through so you know about any potential problems before you buy. Since inspectors are hired to point out issues both big and small, they might come back with a large number of concerns. Don’t get discouraged by this! Minor problems like chips and scuffs are easy fixes – focus on results that could cause major trouble down the road. Even if you’ve been told the house was inspected recently, hire your own inspector. For your own peace of mind, don’t just take someone else’s word for it that the house is in perfect shape.

Ignoring closing costs

Finally, don’t make the mistake of assuming that buying a home itself is the last cost you’ll encounter during the process. It can be a nasty shock to realize you still have to pay for closing costs like legal fees, title insurance, and the home inspection you (hopefully) had done. A broker can help you prepare for these costs, and guide you through budgeting for them. You can read more about common closing costs here.

Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed by all the dos and don’ts of buying a home. It’s a big commitment, and it can be stressful. That’s where the help of an unbiased mortgage professional comes in. If you’re looking to buy a home and need help with the mortgage process, get in touch with us at Clinton Wilkins Mortgage Team! You can call us at (902) 482-2770, or contact us here.