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house hunting errors

5 house hunting errors to avoid

If you’re in the market for a new home, you likely have a lot on your plate. From budgeting to choosing the right agent to finding suitable locations, you may already be feeling a bit overwhelmed. While we certainly don’t want to add to your burden, there are also lots of house hunting errors you should be mindful of during this process! Buying a home can be complicated, and it’s easy to make mistakes. It might seem like a lot of work to keep all this in mind now, but it will save you a ton of trouble down the road. Here are five of the biggest house hunting errors we see, and why you should make a point of avoiding them.

#1 Not sticking to your budget

When you go hunting for a home, you should always determine a budget ahead of time. You can do some research on average housing prices in the location you desire to see what a realistic budget might be, but it will largely depend on your income and debts. Once you’ve established a budget it’s very important to stick to it. 

One of the biggest house hunting errors we see is buyers who try to purchase a home beyond their means. You know what you can and can’t afford, and buying a home over your budget could throw you into financial trouble. You will likely be unable to afford mortgage payments, home repairs, or other expenses because you overspent on the down payment for the home itself. If you need to spend the majority of your income on housing expenses, this is called being house poor. Being house poor is something you want to avoid to dodge the risk of defaulting on your mortgage, so always adhere to your budget.

#2 Not having a pre-approval

You can’t just jump right into house hunting as soon as you decide you want to buy a house. In a market this competitive, you need to be fully prepared ahead of time so when you find a home you want, you’re ready to put an offer on it. Getting a pre-approval means you will be good to go once you begin your search. Your pre-approval puts you within reach of a mortgage approval, because it means a lender has already reviewed your finances and given you an estimate on a mortgage amount they might finance. When you need a mortgage approval, having a pre-approval often makes the process go faster. Plus, sellers like to see buyers with pre-approvals because it shows their commitment to the search. Without a pre-approval, you will be one step behind other buyers, which is an issue in a competitive market where time is of the essence.

#3 Not using a real estate agent

Real estate agents are a big part of helping buyers secure a home. They help you find listings, put in offers, and negotiate on your behalf. They also make you look more attractive to sellers because it shows you’re serious. Another big house hunting error we see is buyers who try to go through the process without an agent. Sellers are less likely to consider you as a buyer if you aren’t represented by an agent because you look less committed. In a market as competitive as this one, sellers are looking for a buyer with a professional on their side. Not to mention, you would be overwhelmed trying to handle this process on your own. Real estate agents are trained professionals who do this for a living – leave it to them.

#4 Not narrowing down a location

It’s important to be specific when you’re searching for a home, and this includes narrowing down the location you want to live in. There are thousands of cities and towns you could search, but it will waste a lot of time to trek out to different locations that aren’t realistic for you. Your budget will be a big influence on your area of choice, as certain locations are much pricier than others. Once you know your budget and the areas that fit into it, make a point of searching those spots thoroughly for a home and a neighbourhood that meets your needs.

#5 Not getting a home inspection

Finally, one of the biggest house hunting errors you can make is not getting a home inspection done on the property you’re interested in. This is a competitive market and homes are selling quickly, which means many people are buying homes without inspections. However, this can be dangerous if it turns out the home has major problems that require costly repairs, which you will be on the hook for covering. You could be stuck with a bill for tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs, which could be well beyond your budget. A home inspection ensures any issues are brought to the buyer’s attention, and the buyer and seller can negotiate payment arrangements.

You will have a lot to think about as a buyer, but it’s important to keep these house hunting errors top of mind in order to avoid them. Dodging these mistakes will help you have a more successful house search, saving you time and likely a lot of stress. 

If you have questions about buying a home, get in touch with us at Clinton Wilkins Mortgage Team! You can call us at (902) 482-2770 or contact us here.

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