Buying a First Home? Three Rookie Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Posted by Edmonton on Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 at 8:08am.

Home Buying PitfallsBuying a new home for the first time is an exciting event in life, but knowing how to buy your first home is not always perfectly clear. Sometimes, in the rush to find the perfect home to purchase, mistakes are made that have the potential to take all the pleasure out of being a homeowner. First-time homebuyers who want to make sure that they know how to buy a home for the first time should always avoid making the following rookie buying mistakes.

Not Considering All Aspects of Home Ownership

The best home will be one that is not only comfortable to live in but also comfortable to own, so consider all aspects of owning a home. While being comfortable to occupy may simply require that the home have enough space and be in good condition, finding one that will be comfortable to own means avoiding homes that are:

  • Too expensive in terms of recurring costs, such as utilities, taxes, insurance, maintenance, or other costs commonly associated with owning a home
  • Poorly located, requiring the people who live in it to travel too far for work, school, or basic needs, such as food or medical care
  • Not suitable for the needs of the occupants who will live there, such as a home that worsens mobility issues because it has too many stairs or one that fails to fulfill a need for its occupants, such as a home with too few bathrooms or no storage space

Making sure that any home considered for purchase will be truly comfortable requires considering all aspects of owning the home. This includes all costs involved in both the purchase and any recurring costs afterward, all expected costs of maintaining the home, and the expected costs to actually live in the home. Only when all these costs are considered before the purchase can the buyer expect to be completely happy with their choice throughout their ownership.

Not Understanding or Utilizing Addendums and Contingencies

Another common mistake made by those buying a house for the first time is failing to learn, understand, and utilize all the steps in the buying process. Contingencies, especially those on financing and home inspection, provide important protections to buyers by allowing them to exit or renegotiate a purchase agreement if the mortgage is not approved or in situations where the home inspection reveals significant repair or safety issues in the home. 

In addition to understanding contingencies, buyers must also note and fully understand other areas of the purchase agreement, such as:

  • Items to be included or excluded from the sale of the home
  • Dates and timeframes by which specific actions must be completed, such as the inspection period
  • Fees that the buyer will be responsible for, including closing fees, condo maintenance fees, provincial land transfer taxes, and temporary occupancy fees on new construction

Purchase contracts and addendums are filled with important details and information that, if ignored or not fully understood, can turn the dream of homeownership into a nightmare, instead.

Purchasing Without a Real Estate Professional

One of the biggest mistakes any first-time homebuyer can make is the decision that professional guidance is not necessary or that they can save money by going it alone when purchasing a home. Even worse is when buyers opt to work with an agent who has just entered the business or one who has no experience in the area or housing segment in which the purchase will be made.

Do you need a REALTOR® to buy a home? An experienced real estate professional can help buyers learn about the purchase process, avoid purchasing the wrong home, negotiate successfully with sellers, and make sure that home inspections and other contingencies are fully utilized to their client's benefit, all while helping the buyers manage all their contractual duties during the purchase process.

The smart advice for first time home owners who want to have the very best purchase and ownership experience is to start the process by teaming with the right real estate professional.

By Justin Havre

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