7 Mistakes First-Time Buyers Make
We know how stressful it can be buying a home, let alone your first home. As a first-time buyer, you feel pressured to have everything go exactly as planned, ultimately ending up in your dream palace in the sky. Throughout the purchase process, we see first-time buyers make mistakes that affect his or her ability to land the property of his or her dreams.
Below is a list of 7 mistakes frequently made by first-time buyers. Partner yourself with an educated broker, and you will soon be on the way to calling your dream house home!
1. Not Hiring a Broker:
First-time buyers, especially those that are unfamiliar with transacting in real estate, have a large misconception that if they hire a broker, they are going to have to pay. This is not the case. When it comes to buying, unlike renting, the seller’s agent splits the commission with the buyer’s (your) agent. With that being said, you only stand to gain with partnering with a reputable broker when conducting your home search.
2. Lack of Pre-Approval:
If you are planning to finance the purchase of your home, it is imperative that you get a pre-approval letter from your mortgage company. This will help you in two ways: 1) you know that you will even get approved and 2) what amount the bank is willing to lend to you. For the latter, some are pleasantly surprised that they are approved for more than they originally thought, while sometimes, the approval may come in lower than expected. This is important, however, so you know at what price point you can shop. Many first-time buyers feel that this is not urgent and say “I will get it later!” The sooner you have your pre-approval in hand, the sooner you will be a competitive buyer in the marketplace. Mortgage pre-approvals are generally valid for 3 months, so even if you don’t find an apartment immediately, you are better prepared for the search by getting the letter from the start.
3. Broker Access to Listing:
This relates to mistake #1 in that, often, first-time buyers believe that they have to go direct (without a broker) to a listing that they are interested in because it is that listing agent’s listing. All brokers have access to all listings. So no matter what broker you partner with as a buyer, they can take you to any listing throughout the city. You will not get a better deal by going alone!
Buying your first home will probably be one of the most stressful purchases of your life. First-time buyers can suffer from indecisiveness, especially in the Manhattan market which offers so many options. If you find what feels to be the perfect home, bid on it and focus on that apartment. Too often, first-time buyers cannot commit to a property and miss out on a deal that meets their criteria.
Hiring a reputable broker is 90% of the equation while the other 10% is on you as the buyer. Be sure to do your homework regarding all the components that go into purchasing a home. How much will insurance be? Utilities? The more you understand what expenses are involved and what the state of the market is, you will know what you can realistically afford and focus your search accordingly.
6. Buying Direct with the Seller’s Agent:
This, too, related to mistake #1- notice a theme? Too often, first-time buyers buy direct (without a buyer’s broker), which can hurt them in the end. It is important to understand that while the seller’s agent is thrilled with a double commission, throughout the entire purchase process they are legally obligated to the seller, not you. the buyer. This means that the seller’s interests are prioritized before yours. Make sure you are represented by a broker that has your best interests at heart so you can feel confident that you received the best deal.
7. Underestimate the Complexity of the Process:
Often when dealing with something we have never done, we have expectations or assumptions of how to approach it and handle it. We see many first-time buyers that underestimate the complexity of the real estate transaction process. The steps of going from offer submission to the closing table is like navigating a minefield. There is a myriad of things that can popup between contract signing and closing that may complicate the deal or threaten it, often things you would not anticipate as a non real estate professional. Your broker will seamlessly guide you throughout the process.