First-Time Homebuyers: Common Mistakes to Avoid

by Nancy Brenseke 08/01/2021

Photo by Mohamed Hassan via Pixabay

It’s part of the American DNA to want to own a home. It can be your immense joy or become a nightmare if you don’t avoid some of these first-time buyer lapses in judgment.

What to Avoid

  • Overbuying. The mantra used to be “buy the biggest house you can afford.” After all isn’t bigger always better? The challenge is that affordability is subjective. If you’ve never owned a home, you don’t know the intangible costs. A bigger house has more space to live, but it also has more space to heat and cool. A large yard is fantastic for the kids, but it comes with landscaping and maintenance responsibilities. Go big if you like, but do it with your eyes wide open. Ask your agent to help you determine ongoing costs for the homes you visit in your quest.
  • Buying just to buy. Yes, that down payment is burning a hole in your virtual pocket. You want it invested in property so that you can get on with the business of living. But unless you have a time-restriction on funds that need reinvesting, take your time to get what, and more importantly, where you really want. Visit neighborhoods during the day on different days, in the evening and on weekends. Drive around the nearby streets too. This will help you get more of a feel for the overall area.
  • Becoming emotionally attached to a home you don’t yet own. When you’re shopping for a home, it’s easy to find “THE ONE” that checks all your boxes — except the budget box, or the timeline box, or the practicality box. When home stagers’ do their job well, you’re guaranteed to have an emotional reaction to a house. Their entire goal is to trigger your emotions so that you “have to have” that house. But emotions can be fickle. What you love today in this house could be the thing you despise in 10 years of living there. It’s essential that you spend time with your buyer’s agent to determine the non-negotiables you want for your new home.
  • Entering a bidding war. When you have unlimited funds, perhaps you can afford to pay more for a home than the market price. But lenders limit the size of a mortgage based on a lot of factors you may not be aware of in the housing market. Just because the price of a house goes up doesn’t mean you can get a loan to cover the full difference between what you pay and what the market says it’s worth.

Most of all, don’t buy without representation. Your expert buyer’s agent knows all the ins and outs of the local market and can steer you clear of pitfalls, potholes, and potentially poor choices. They negotiate on your behalf and represent your (not the seller’s) interest in those negotiations. Rely on them to show you homes that fit your list and check your boxes without breaking the bank or putting you in an overstretched situation.

About the Author
Author

Nancy Brenseke

I love the ocean, sand and sunshine! That's why I call Hilton Head Island/Bluffton my home! I relocated to Hilton Head Island over 20 years ago from North Carolina after graduating from East Carolina University - Go Pirates! I continue to be successful in real estate for the past 13 Years and with my experience working with top resorts and gated communities, I have cultivated attention to detail, understand the importance of listening first and have the positive "Can Do" attitude in all situations. I offer my sellers and buyers the BEST advice to achieve their real estate goals. I enjoy spending time with my family boating on the May River, attending festivals along Old Town Bluffton and building sandcastles on HHI beaches.  

"Nancy Brenseke is the type of realtor that everyone should contract to sell their property. She is very knowledgeable and gave us valuable information when listing the townhome. The whole process went smoothly and Nancy was responsible for that. She always communicated with us which kept us confident that all aspects of the closing were under control and on track. I highly recommend Nancy Brenseke." ~ Deb Bluffton, SC

"I would highly recommend using Nancy for your real estate needs. She is extremely knowledgeable and responsive. Nancy's representation is top-notch." ~ Jill - Nashville, TN

"Nancy went the extra mile on everything around selling the condo. I would use her again and would recommend her to anyone I come in contact with. Our condo sold in 1 day! She was excellent and hardworker. She helped in all aspects of selling, from marketing with great number of pictures, to home inspection with helping us find contractors to fix the inspection issue so were were able to close." Eric - Cumming, GA