Do you want to make sure your house hunting gets off to a good start? Do you want to be ready to make on offer when you see “the one?” Then take a look at these important tips on what not to do!

Not Visiting Your Lender Way Before Starting the Hunt
A good lender wants you to be successful. They are more than happy to sit down with you a year or more in advance of your home search. Lenders are the only ones who can really help you figure out where you stand when it comes to making those home buying dreams a reality.  There are important things they can help you get a handle on so you won’t be disappointed later:

  • Where you need to be financially when you’re ready to start finding the home you want.
  • How your credit score will impact your home purchase. Many buyers are surprised to find that their credit needs a little repair if they’re going to get the best interest rate on their mortgage or be able to buy at all.
  • NOTE: No online calculator knows your financial situation well enough to address your home buying power. The calculators job is to steer you toward a company selling mortgages. Your financial reality is not taken into account. And it does not have your best interests at heart the way a client-focused lender does.

Not Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Before the Search Begins
You’re ready – time to call your lender again! Homebuyers should always get pre-approved for a mortgage before they start looking, for two reasons. First, it avoids the disappointment  of finding out you don’t qualify for a loan on the house of your dreams. Second, these days most sellers, won’t even consider an offer from someone who isn’t pre-approved.

Not Having a Viable Budget
Your lender should have talked to you about  appraisal and inspection costs as well as all the closing costs. It’s important that you’ve figured out how to budget for costs after your purchase too. You’ve probably budgeted for your mortgage, property taxes, hazard insurance, and private mortgage insurance (PMI). But what about utilities, repairs and home maintenance? Plan to have a cushion of at least three months’ income saved in case of unexpected costs.

Not Deciding What You Really Want
With your budget in mind, of course, you and your realtor should take the time to figure out what you’re really looking for.  Otherwise, you might spend a lot time and effort looking at homes that don’t fit your budget or your needs. I feel an important part of my job is helping my buyers “check off the boxes” that are important to them, while not straying from their goals. It’s easy to get distracted if you don’t know what the “non-negotiables” are.

Not Getting a Sense of the Neighborhood
I like to tell buyers You’re not just buying a home their buying a neighborhood. You should like and feel at home in yours. If possible, (and this can be tough in a strong seller’s market) visit on the weekend to get feel for whether or not the neighborhood is the right fit for you. Things to consider might be:

  • Does it have open green space, parks and hiking trails or other recreational opportunities?
  • Will they be close to major highways and public transportation?
  • Is the neighborhood safe, or does it have crime issues?
  • Are the school districts good?
  • How is shopping? Walkability? Access to medical care?

Not Getting the Inspection Results Before You Fall in Love
It’s easy for homebuyers to fall in love with what they see as the perfect home. Before you make the decision, however, you need to know the property’s true condition. Many issues can surface at the inspection. These can include costly structural or health concerns that may make the house unsafe or too costly to own. Do yourself a favor and don’t get attached before the inspector has ruled.

Choosing a home is exciting but it’s also a major life decision. Follow these essential steps, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyers, and you’ll be more likely to have a great home buying experience.