3 Common First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes

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  • Buying your first home can be a complicated process.
  • Many people make mistakes when making this purchase.
  • These errors, such as spending too much, can be avoided if you know about them in advance.

If you're buying your first house, you can't afford to fall into these traps.

When you are buying your first home, it's really important you get a property you are happy with. This doesn't just mean you want to love the home and its location, although of course those things are important. It also means you need to ensure your house doesn't come with monthly costs that cause you a lot of financial stress.

Unfortunately, many first-time buyers make mistakes that compromise their ability to love their properties -- either because of the financial aspect or because they don't know what to look for to make sure the house works for them. You don't want to be one of those homeowners, so be sure to avoid these three common errors.

1. Spending too much

Spending too much on a first house is the single biggest error you can make because the consequences can be devastating. In a worst-case scenario, you could end up getting foreclosed on, which would mean losing your house, losing a lot of money, and damaging your credit for years to come. And even if this doesn't happen, spending too much could leave you constantly stressed about your payments and unable to accomplish any other goals.

Unfortunately, it's easy to fall into this trap for lots of reasons. Some people don't fully understand all the costs of owning a property. If you assume you're good because you can afford the mortgage, you could still find yourself in over your head due to things like taxes, HOA fees, or higher maintenance costs.

Other first-time buyers may justify overspending on the assumption their income will go up or because they simply fall in love with a house and let their emotions lead them astray. But you can't assume your earnings will always grow enough to pay the bills. And while you may like the house itself, you won't like the worry that goes along with unaffordable expenses.

2. Focusing on the wrong things

Another common mistake that first-time buyers make is focusing on the wrong features. For example, people often get hung up on the cosmetics of the house. But liking the kitchen cabinets or the look of the exterior isn't going to matter that much in the long run.

The most important things to think about are the safety of the neighborhood, the quality of the school district, whether the floor plan works for your family, and how the commute is. These are things that aren't easily changed and that impact your life on a day-to-day basis far more than whether the home has a spa-like master bath.

3. Not thinking long term

Finally, the last big mistake first-time buyers make is failing to consider whether the house will work for them over time. You don't want to buy a house and then move again too quickly because you won't recoup your transaction costs. And you may assume you'll be able to move up into a different house at some point, but this isn't always possible depending on your job situation and the housing market in your area.

If a house won't work for you for at least the next five years or so, you should probably wait to buy.

Fortunately, each of these mistakes can be easily avoided now that you know what traps first-time buyers fall into. By steering clear of them, hopefully you can end up in a property that actually works for you.

Our Research Expert

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