Buying your first home is an exciting experience that is often the culmination of many years of hard work, careful planning and deliberate saving. But it can also be stressful and intimidating if buyers aren’t familiar with the process and the possible pitfalls. Often, before that perfect house has even been found, buyers have envisioned themselves settling into their new home and have plans for paint colours they’d like to use, the garden they’ll put in, the local businesses they plan to frequent and so on. Buying a home is likely the largest and most significant financial transaction we will be involved in so it only makes sense to approach it armed with as much information as possible. Last minute problems or significant issues are the last thing you want to face once you have found a property so learning about possible pitfalls ahead of time is a great way to begin the process. Here are some things you’ll want to avoid…
Not fully understanding the paperwork
Purchasing a home involves signing A LOT of documentation. Your real estate agent, your lawyer and your mortgage representative will do their best to explain it all to you, but you are responsible for making sure you truly understand what you’re signing your name to. Read the fine print. Ask questions. Ask those questions again. Once you sign on the dotted line, you are consenting to a legally binding contract so you have to be sure you fully understand and are comfortable with the commitment you are making.
Getting caught up in emotions
As I said earlier, buying a home comes hand in hand with making plans for your future. If we think we are in danger of not achieving those plans, we can become emotionally involved in a transaction that should really be as unfettered by emotion as possible. Losing out in a home you like can be upsetting and can sometimes cause buyers to make rash decisions about their finances or other major issues, but those decisions can cause problems if they have long term consequences. As difficult as it can be, it is better to keep calm, stick to your budget and remember your long term plans so that you make sure you end up in a positive situation and not a case of buyer’s remorse.
Waiving conditions prematurely
Waiving conditions is an important step in your purchase…one that should not be taken lightly. Sometimes buyers feel they may need to waive conditions in order to secure an accepted offer…in a competitive offer situation or in a seller’s market, for example. I always advise against this unless the buyer is 100% certain that the condition is not necessary because making these concessions prematurely can leave you vulnerable. What if for some reason your mortgage pre-approval isn’t as sewn up as you thought it was? That inspection that you deemed unnecessary? It might have turned up evidence of the structural problem you’re now on the hook for. The question to ask before waiving conditions isn’t “Will I lose this house if I leave the conditions in?”, it’s “Can I afford to take the risk if something goes wrong?”.
There’s no doubt about it, there are many things to consider when buying your first home. It can be as terrifying as it is exhilarating. That’s why it’s so important to find a realtor you can trust and with whom you feel comfortable and confident. Your realtor shouldn’t be pushing you to make a purchase, s/he should be making sure all of your questions are answered, all your needs are met and that the purchase is in your best interest.
Finding the right realtor is your first step in finding the right property. When you’re ready to start your search for your first home, please call me. Helping you really is what I do.