There are a number of life lessons that aren’t taught in the classroom. While much of high school is spent on reading, writing, and arithmetic, there aren’t many classes dedicated to doing your taxes or negotiating a pay raise. Many homebuyers don’t realize they have serious gaps in their knowledge until they are faced with purchasing their first home. Even experienced homebuyers can struggle with the process – there are often several years between the purchase of one home and another, and valuable lessons are forgotten in that time.
There are some steps you can take to make buying a house a little simpler. While it’s tempting to spend all your free time educating yourself on the ins and outs of real estate deals, you don’t need to earn your home inspector certification to avoid some of the most common errors. If you’re hoping to avoid some of the most common homebuyer mistakes, be on the lookout for these five:
Falling in Love with the First House You See
Love at first sight isn’t reserved for Hollywood movies. Many homebuyers fall in love with the very first home they tour when they start house hunting. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with making such a decision, it behooves homebuyers to explore several options before committing to a particular property. Just like with romantic partners, falling in love with a house so quickly can cause you to ignore red flags. While a professional with their home inspector certification can help point out the most explicit ones, buyers with their heart set on a particular home may find it difficult to walk away from a property they love (even when they should!)
Underestimating the Price of Repairs and Renovations
Home makeover shows have been a staple of the television landscape for decades. There’s something so satisfying about watching an outdated property be transformed into a gorgeous dream home in the span of an hour. Anyone with their home inspector certification can tell you, however, that these shows often depict an unrealistic, fairy tale version of what most home renovations are like.
While it’s true that sweat equity and DIY projects can go a long way to bring a home into the 21st century, it often comes with a hefty price tag. Home renovation projects almost always go over budget and usually take longer than anticipated. While buying a home that needs repair work isn’t a bad idea, it’s not for the faint of heart, either.
Overlooking Hidden Costs
There are few things as exciting as purchasing a new home. Unfortunately, however, that excitement can cloud the vision of even the most level-headed of homebuyers. If the sight of your monthly principal and interest payment gave you sticker shock, just wait until you get your first property tax bill. Mortgage insurance, hazard insurance, homeowners insurance and maintenance costs add up fast.
Before you sign on the bottom line for a new home, be sure you understand the full financial weight of your decision. Ask your realtor or lender to help you estimate costs beyond your monthly mortgage payment. As you prepare your budget moving forward, be sure to set aside between one and three percent of the purchase price of the home for maintenance costs. It’s the best way to prepare for not-so-pleasant financial surprises!
Focusing on the House Instead of the Neighborhood
It’s easy to get caught up in the features of a prospective new home. Shiny new appliances and gorgeous morning light can distract from what lies beyond the front door. While it’s important to love your new home, it’s equally important to love your new neighborhood. Focusing primarily on the house can lead to long-term frustration if you’re not also giving the neighborhood your due diligence.
In addition to having a professional with their home inspection certification look over your home, ask around about the neighborhood in which you’re buying. Friends, family and colleagues may be able to provide insight. Crime statistics, walk scores, and other data can help give you a more nuanced perspective about your new neighborhood.
Making Emotional Decisions
Humans are driven by their emotions. Unfortunately, this can lead to poor decision-making and consequences that linger for years. Taking emotion out of an inherently emotional process is downright impossible for some buyers. Still, anyone making such an important decision should work to set feelings aside when shopping for a new home.
Industry experts can help you make more logical choices. By working with a professional who has earned their home inspection certification, you’ll get a better idea of what the future holds for both the house and your wallet. While it may be difficult to separate your head from your heart when buying a home, doing so can pay off in spades.
Maybe your quest for the perfect home has inspired you to learn more about how houses work. Maybe you’re feeling passionate about educating other homebuyers about their new purchase. Or maybe you’re simply interested in learning a new trade. Whatever your motivation, ICA can help you earn your home inspection certification and begin working in the field. Learn more and sign up for classes now!