Buying a house or condo is an exciting experience, especially when it’s your first time. From perusing online listings to viewing gorgeous living spaces to making an offer on your dream home, there are enjoyable aspects at every step. Of course, the process can also be confusing—and making a wrong move could wind up costing you time and money. While a great real estate agent can help guide you through your purchase smoothly, there are also a few things you can do to prevent yourself from making a major home-buying blunder.

If you’re preparing to jump into the market, here are five common home-buying missteps you should avoid…

1) Searching for a home without pre-approval

One of the most important steps you can take to set yourself up for a successful purchase is getting pre-approved for a mortgage. During the pre-approval process, a lender will look closely at your financial situation and determine how much you’ll likely receive in financing. In addition to helping you set a home-hunting price range, completing this step shows sellers that you’re a serious buyer—one who has the funds to make it to the finish line.

2) Forgetting to create a thorough budget

Setting a price range before you start your search is critical, but don’t forget about the additional costs you’ll likely take on when you make a purchase. Property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, utilities… these expenses can add up. Forgetting to factor all of them into your home-buying budget is a major mistake—one that many first-timers make. The result can be wasted time (since you might wind up looking at living spaces you can’t afford) or unexpected debt (if you do wind up with more home than you can comfortably pay for).

3) Snapping up a home too quickly

Sometimes, you just get a feeling about a home. The moment you step inside, you can imagine dinner parties at the dining table, BBQs in the backyard, and playtime with the kids in the living room. While exploring these feelings is an important step towards finding your dream home, it can sometimes lead buyers astray. It’s true that the first property you see could be ideal, but it’s always a good idea to dig deep before making a commitment. Be sure to ask sellers the right questions—your real estate agent can help you determine what those are

4) Being too picky

On the other end of the spectrum, some buyers hesitate when it’s time to jump in. They pass on homes that are absolutely perfect for them, apart from one or two small details. It could be outdated kitchen cabinets or unattractive bathroom flooring. It could be an otherwise ideal home located ten minutes from the buyer’s ideal neighbourhood. Unfortunately, this type of attitude can prolong the process—and lead first-timers to pass on fantastic properties that could meet your needs.

5) Falling in love with furniture or decor

A gorgeous staging job can help you envision living in a home, but don’t put too much to stock into surface appeal. While that beautiful leather sofa set or elegant area rug might pull the room together, chances are good that they won’t come with the place. Even if they do (you can sometimes bargain for decorative items during the negotiation process), they won’t make up for the major flaws that you may fail to investigate if you commit to a home based largely on its decor. This is a common home-buyer mistake, but it’s one you can avoid by creating detailed criteria to remind yourself what’s really important.

Ready to start the search for your next home? Get in touch—we can walk you through the entire selling process, from beginning to end!

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