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10 of the Worst First Time Home Buyer Mistakes

Blog by Claire LeLacheur | September 28th, 2010

Thinking about becoming a home owner? Shopping for a home can be super exhausting and scary, but it also can be really fun and don’t forget, you are going to get something really cool at the end. It should be an exciting time. Unfortunately many people make some really big mistakes that prevent them from getting what they want and they end up with Buyers remorse. Follow these simple tips and you are the road to your first castle.

 1.Not Knowing What You can afford –Sure you can walk into any old bank and the part time teller who happens to be behind the desk will tell you that you can afford a million dollar home. Well that’s great but what if a million dollar home will make you mortgage rich and house poor? Know what you monthly expenses will be, what your budget will be and stick to it.

 2.Not getting pre approved - This is possibly the biggest mistake any first time home buyer can make. They get caught up in looking at fancy houses and dreaming of home ownership and forget that they have to pay for it eventually. Get yourself to a mortgage broker and figure out how much house you can afford. This will give you a good indication of what neighborhoods you can live in, and will it be a house or a condo. If you haven’t done this you are not only wasting the Sellers time, the Realtor’s time, but also your own time.

 3. Failing to consider additional expenses – in addition to your monthly mortgage payment there are a host of other monthly expenses that come along with home ownership that must be accounted for in your budgets. Property taxes, condo fees, hydro, internet, water, and homeowners insurance.

 4. Being far too picky – I advise all my first time buyers to make a list of all their wants and all of their needs. The list does not have to become the be all and end all of the home buying experience. Get used to the fact that you might have to live on a busy street, or fore go the second bedroom. If you do choose to continue renting and leave the buying experience behind, we all know that in Vancouver the market can turn on a moments notice and it will leave you in the dust, doomed to be a life long renter.

 5. Lacking Vision – let’s face it. In Vancouver there are a lot of dumps out there and they need work. But if the house has a good floor plan, and great extras that with a bit of elbow grease it could be awesome, don’t let that cloud your vision. Also small renovations can increase your home value and add value to your house. Don’t let the harvest gold kitchen appliances ruin your dream of home ownership.

 6. Swept Away – minor cosmetic fixes to a home, that make it looks sparkly and right out of the cover of a magazine can, for the most part be very cheap for the seller to achieve, especially if they are handy. Look for a house that you can add value to and your own stamp of character.

 7. Compromising on the important things - if you want to buy a three bedroom house because you are planning a family, don’t scrimp and buy a 500 square foot condo. Make your house buying plan work for you for the next five years. That way you will live through any market cycle.

 8. Get a Building Inspection – if the market is slow, or soft, take your time to fall in love with the house and get a building inspection from a qualified and licensed home inspector. Once you move in you will have a list of items that need to be fixed now, and in the next year. You will be glad you spent the money I the long run.

 9. Choose to work with your own realtor – walking into an open house and writing an offer through the listing agent can lead to a whole house load of problems. That realtor does not have any legal obligation to you, has no loyalty, and in reality the only thing they want is for you to buy the house so they can get both ends of the commission. Get your own agent who is legally obligated to help you do your own due diligence.

 10.Think about the Future – the best time to think about Selling your home is when you are purchasing it. Know what is planned for the neighborhood for the next few years. Ask the City if there are any development permits that have been taken out. Know if your view will be taken away by another building being built in front of you. In the end you will be glad you did.

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