Buying your first home for you and your family is often a stressful process. There are so many decisions that you have to make and houses to look at. My team and I work with a lot of first-time homebuyers so we thought we would put together a list of the commons mistakes first time homebuyers make. Before you start your Orlando home search, read through this blog and make sure you don’t make one of the five mistakes first-time homebuyers make.
Mistake #1 – Not Knowing Your Budget
Have you spoken with a mortgage lender and received a pre-qualification letter? If not, you’re not ready to start looking at homes. We recommend every first-time homebuyer speak with a mortgage lender to find out exactly what they qualify for and get a pre-qualification letter. This letter lets sellers know that you are a serious buyer and they should take your offer seriously. Additionally, this will help you and your REALTOR® refine your home search to just those homes that you qualify for. If you don’t have a lender in mind, please click here and complete this quick form and one of our preferred lending partners will reach out to you. All of our preferred lending partners are lenders that we know and trust that they will deliver the same level of service as our team does.
Mistake #2 – Not Thinking About the Future Costs
Most first-time homebuyers are transitioning from renting and are used to paying rent and utilities. Being a homeowner is huge responsibility and comes with many additional “costs of homeownership.” Many costs are easy to figure out like your property taxes, insurance and HOA dues. However, there are many other expenses that a lot of first-time homebuyers don’t calculate when figuring out what they can afford. Things like emergency repairs, appliance replacements, routine maintenance, roof replacement, exterior painting, and more. As a first-time homebuyer, it is important that you understand the full cost of homeownership. I always like to recommend that clients save 2-5% of the home’s value per year for unforeseen repairs, upgrades, and general maintenance costs. Properly maintaining your home will ensure that you protect your home’s value for the future.
Mistake #3 – Buying a Fixer-Upper
In the age of DIY & HGTV, everyone has become a self proclaimed “home improvement expert.” The reality is however that real life homeownership is nothing like those television shows. You’re not going to be able to change out your home’s flooring like a pro in a few hours, that’s just not reality. Many first-time homebuyers want to buy a fixer-upper with the intention of doing a full-scale renovation. We always try to encourage first-time homebuyers to look at homes that are generally move in ready. With a few simple, inexpensive cosmetic changes like painting walls, adding landscaping, or replacing a front door you can put your own personality into your new home without breaking the bank.
Mistake #4 – Skipping the Home Inspection
Just don’t do it. Hiring a qualified home inspector is simply a must do for any homebuyer, especially a first-time homebuyer. A home inspector will check out the home from top to bottom including walking the roof, crawling through the attic, and checking every single component of the home. A home inspection is a 3-4 hour process and the inspector will provide you a detailed report on the home with any potential red flags. This is important for any first-time homebuyer when calculating out the future costs of homeownership we talked about in mistake #2. For example, if the room only has 2-3 years of life left, that could be a $10,000 to $15,000 for a standard roof. It is important to know about these hidden costs and the only way to find out is through a home inspection. If you need a recommendation for a home inspector, click here to check out our preferred vendors.
Mistake # 5 – Not Hiring a REALTOR®
Today, first-time homebuyers have more resources at their fingertips than ever before. From websites like Zillow and Trulia to online property records and of course that family member who is a self-proclaimed “real estate expert,” first-time homebuyers often think they can do it alone. Big mistake. First, hiring a CENTURY 21 buyer’s agent doesn’t cost you anything, yup – I’m free to buyers. REALTORS® know the market, we understand how recent sales and homes under contract will impact a home’s value, and we can help guide you through the whole process. Not having an Orlando REALTOR® at your side is like going to court without an attorney, not a smart move.
About the Author - Orlando's Kevin Boudreaux, REALTOR®
REALTOR® Kevin Boudreaux is an experienced Orlando-based with CENTURY 21 Roo Realty. One of the area's top producers, Kevin sold over $10MM in his first year as a real estate agent. He and his team are dedicated to putting their experience to work for their customers delivering world-class customer experiences while helping them buy or sell their home.