5 Mistakes First Time Home Buyer Make

Dated: 06/17/2020

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With interest rates being at an all-time low and the increasing rents in Hilton Head and Bluffton, more and more people are thinking about purchasing their first home. Being a homeowner is not only part of the “American Dream” but it is also now the smart financial decision for many families. 

Buying your first home can easily be one of the most important and exciting times of your life. Not only because it's a big accomplishment, but also because it sets a financial foundation. Buying a house can allow you to build equity and strengthen your financial freedom. Sadly, not knowing the right information or listening to friends and family instead of professionals can quickly turn this dream into a nightmare. Below are 5 mistakes I often see first home buyers make, along with information on how to avoid them. Hopefully, this will help make the purchase of your first home  “A Smart Move!”

1 Not Getting a Buyers Agent

IT IS FREE! Let me say it once more in case you missed it: It’s free. Buying a house without buyer representation is like going to court without an attorney. To be honest, if you find a good buyers agent there's a good chance that they will help you avoid all of these mistakes and more. Thinking that you can get a better deal by calling the seller directly will not get you a better deal. There is much more to your contract than just the price. Protect yourself and contact a real estate agent to help you. 

2 Seeing Houses Before Getting Financing

Looking at houses before you know how much you can afford puts you at risk of falling in love with a house you can’t afford. That's a best-case scenario, in a market like ours where houses are selling fast the last thing you want to do is to be outbid by someone offering less than you but since the seller doesn’t know where your money is coming from they consider your offer riskier. My advice is, talk to a lender to find out how much you can qualify for and get a pre-approval letter from them. 

3 Ignoring First Time Home Buyer Programs

Many people think they need 20% down or a perfect credit score to buy a house, this is not always true. There are many programs for first-time homebuyers that can help you buy a house with little or no money down. This is why it is important that you talk to a lender, they will be able to better guide you in this process. It is important that you take advantage of FHA, VA, USDA, and other programs the first time you buy a house because you may not be able to take advantage of these opportunities.

4 Getting More House Than you Can Afford

I always insist on this because being “house broke” can become your biggest nightmare. Buying a house requires more expenses than just your mortgage. Lenders will try to take into account many of these expenses in order to protect you. Unfortunately, there are things like repairs and illnesses that they can’t account for. It's easy to get caught up in what others have and try and have a house just as nice as they do. But like the saying goes: “easy comes, easy goes”. It is better to start small but firm, than big and lose it all. 

5 Looking for a Unicorn

I know we all want something that's good, pretty, and cheap, and as much as I wish I could find you a 1-acre lot with a newly built 4 bedroom house for under 100k,  that just doesn’t exist. This is why it's important that you look at as many houses in your budget so that you get a better understanding of what your money can get you. Attempting to look for something that doesn't exist will just make you unhappy and can make you lose out on good opportunities. 


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Leslie Sandoval

Leslie is a lifelong resident of the Hilton Head Island, Bluffton area. She is committed to her community, family, friends and her real estate career. Leslie has helped many families buy their firs....

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