Four Mistakes To Avoid When Buying Your First Home

Buying your first home is a big step and an exciting adventure. You can't wait to get in a space that's all your own. In your haste to purchase a home, however, you'll want to avoid making these four common mistakes that first-time buyers often fall victim to.

Mistake #1: Not hiring a real estate agent.

After you've bought and sold a few homes, you might have enough knowledge to shop on your own if you prefer to do so. But for your first home, you should absolutely seek the help of real estate agents. They can help you identify the best neighborhood for your lifestyle, avoid over-paying, and navigate the often-complex paperwork associated with home buying. Hiring a realtor is free for buyers since both the buyer and seller's agent are typically paid by a seller. Why not use this free service to your advantage?

Mistake #2: Forgetting to plan ahead.

You might be single and without children now, but do you plan to be in five years? You can't predict the future, but at least spend some time considering how your life may change in the next five to ten years. Then, make sure you buy a home that can accommodate those changes. For example, you may wish to buy a three-bedroom home rather than a two-bedroom home so you have a little space if you have a child in a few years.

Mistake #3: Paying too much.

Just because a home is listed at $150,000 does not mean it is worth that much. Sellers often list a home for more than it is worth with the expectation that buyers will offer less than that. Talk to your realtor to determine what a reasonable offer on a specific home is, and also decide the most you are willing to offer if the seller makes a counter-offer. It's easy to get talked into over-paying when you find a home you love, but rest assured -- you'll find another one you like at a fair price if you're patient.

Mistake #4: Committing to too much remodeling.

When you buy your first home, you're usually on a limited budget, and a lot of homes within that budget are probably fixer-uppers to some degree. Just make sure you don't over-commit to a home that needs more work than you can reasonably do. Some painting and tile work are probably manageable, but if a house needs the bathroom and kitchen gutted, you had better have thousands of dollars and a few weekends set aside for that work!