One-story or two-story? Wood floors or carpet? Cul-de-sac or private lot? Fixed-rate or adjustable-rate loan? Amidst all the fun and excitement of buying your first house, the endless decisions can make even the most poised person go a little insane! After over 30 years buying and selling homes in southeastern North Carolina, the agents at Network Real Estate have seen it all!

With so many choices and deadlines in your head, the chaos can lead to mistakes that are otherwise avoidable. Just like any big life decision, it is important to go into your first home-buying experience with a plan. Do your research, stick to the plan, seek professional advice, and we guarantee you’ll avoid all of these following first-time buyer mistakes.

Mistake #1: Breaking the Budget

Don’t get too carried away on Zillow or Trulia dubbing a house your “dream home” before creating a realistic budget that aligns with your finances. Before you even look at a single property, it’s very important to be aware of how much you can afford. One of the best steps into setting your budget is meeting with a lender to get pre-approved for that amount. Sometimes we let our fantasies cloud us from reality. Once you have been pre-approved, be sure to stay below that number. Financial responsibility will keep you from getting in over your head, and remember—it’s still possible to find your “dream home” within the boundaries of your well-thought-out budget!

Mistake #2: Not Working with a Professional

Yes, it is possible to buy or sell a home without the help of a professional real estate agent, but there is a bigger chance that you will experience more headaches along the way. The internet and online real-estate sites can only tell you so much, but without the experience of a licensed professional there is a higher chance that your home-buying process will not be enjoyable. A specialist has access to all of the homes in your market and it is their job to compare homes in order to find the perfect one that meets your wants and needs. He or she will also act as an advocate on your behalf when it comes down to negotiating an offer and writing a contract. Real estate agents, such as those at Network Real Estate, want to advocate for you and help you find the perfect place to call home.

Mistake #3: Forgetting Extra Costs

When creating your budget, be sure to include those sneaky hidden costs. Many buyers factor in the purchase price, but forget to account for taxes, utilities, insurance, and fees. During the contract-to-close process, there are a number of fees that will jump out at you, such as appraisal feels, homeowner’s insurance fees, repairs, moving, and closing costs. If you add these costs to your budget at the very beginning of your journey, then you will not be surprised by them when you actually have to write the check!

Mistake #4: Skipping the Inspections

Curb-appeal can be deceiving! Love at first sight might feel more real than it ever has as you walk through the house for the first time. But anyone can put lipstick on a pig and make it look prettier! The truth is the foundation of the home could have some hidden issues that can’t be seen by the naked eye. This is why it is crucial have the home inspected prior to closing. Your agent will assist you in setting up a home inspection, in which the inspector will go below the surface and provide you with a list of repairs. Most will probably be minor fixes, but it is worth it to know if there are any major problems that you might be unwilling to deal with. Ensuring an inspection prior to closing means you’ll know every detail about the house you are moving into.

Mistake #5: Not Considering the Future

Typically, when purchasing a home, the last thing you are thinking about is selling that home. You might even buy the house with the intent of that being the place in which you grow old. Yet life is always full of surprises, and the day will eventually come when you have to consider reselling your house. In the event of a job transfer, a growing family, or a family member on the other side of the country needing help, moving could very well be something that you have to consider down the road. With that thought in mind, it’s always a good idea to think like a typical home buyer when choosing a house. Will this house be easy to sell? You might be head over heels for that neon green tile in the bathroom, but the average buyer might not fancy the same. Maybe that means you keep the tile for the time being, but start saving up for a new look now. Think like a buyer and you won’t be a seller for long.

Purchasing your first home is an exciting experience! Here at Network Real Estate, we want every step of your home-buying journey to be seamless and fun. Call one of our agents today, and find yourself one step closer to living in your dream home!