If you’ve done your homework, you come equipped to your first house-hunting excursion with a list of non-negotiables. Perhaps you’ve established a budget, identified potential neighborhoods and pegged near-by amenities that you can’t live without. Here are the four most common mistakes buyers make and how to prevent those uncomfortable feelings from creeping over you right after you’ve signed the purchase contract.
- Buying a house that’s too much for your budget
In the midst of a seller’s market, bidding wars can break out, and before you know it, you’re offering way over your maximum budget in hopes of winning the war. Operating this way can make you quickly regret your decision, as it could possibly leave you cash-strapped and stressed out.
Before you even start looking for a home, take some time to evaluate your finances. Consider your amount of monthly debt, expenses and saving goals as you think about how much home you can afford. If finance wasn’t your best subject, don’t sweat–Realtor.com has some great tools to guide you in the decision. Sitting down with a mortgage consultant before you start looking is always recommended.
- Failing to evaluate the full cost of renovations you want
If you’ve been eyeing a charming 1920’s bungalow, chances are it needs some work. But before you purchase a house that needs a laundry list of updates, experts suggest that you secure at least a couple estimates for the entire amount you’ll need to shell out–that way you can accurately factor in the cost of repairs relative to the purchase price. The estimated cost of renovation plus the cost of the house should be within 10 to 20 percent of your maximum housing budget, as complications can arise during the renovation process and you’ll want to make sure you don’t diminish your savings to afford it–because if that happens, you’ll really regret your purchase.
- Sacrificing location
One of the biggest reasons buyers feel remorse soon after purchasing a home is failure to take the home’s location into serious consideration during the house hunt. Prevent remorseful feelings by honestly evaluating your day-to-day routine. Experts suggest getting out a map and sitting down to plot out locations you frequent–think of places like your kids’ school, work, and grocery stores–to help you quickly identify neighborhoods that would complement your daily routine. Failing to spend time thinking about this necessary step means you spend a lot of time in the car–and that, experts say, is what drives people to resent their home’s location.
- Making compromises that don’t work for your lifestyle
If one of your passions is cooking, your checklist probably includes a good-sized kitchen. Forgo this desire for a home in a popular neighborhood and you may be kicking yourself each time you spend time preparing a meal.
When deciding which houses make the cut and which don’t, think about where you and your family spend the majority of your time–experts suggest that it’s actually helpful to envision an actual day and the space you use the most. if a formal dining room is on your ‘want’ list, but in reality you only eat two meals there the entire year, you’re probably not going to regret giving that up in exchange for a room your family uses on a daily basis.