The Peggy Patenaude Team's Blog
This Single-Family in Westford, MA recently sold for $867,500.
This is a Contemporary style home and features 10 total rooms, 4 full baths, 1 half bath, 4 bedrooms, 0.94 acres, and was sold by
The Peggy Patenaude Team - William Raveis R.E. & Home Services
Buying your first home is undoubtedly a long and complex process for someone who has little to no experience in the subject. Your average first-time homeowner learns as they go, with the help of their real estate agent and mortgage lender.
But, even so, first-time buyers often make many mistakes along the way that they could have avoided with prior knowledge and preparation.
In today’s article, we’re going to cover 5 of the most common mistakes that first-time homebuyers make when purchasing a home. From the first house you look at up until closing on your first home, we’ll cover common mistakes from each step of the way to give you the knowledge you need to make the best home buying decisions.
1. Shopping for homes preemptively
Once you decide that you’re interested in potentially buying a home in the near future, it’s tempting to hop online and start looking at listings. But, searching for your dream home at this stage is a poor use of your time.
It’s best to use this time to start thinking about the bigger picture. Have you secured financial aspects of owning a home, such as a down payment, a solid credit score, and two years of steady employment history?
You’ll also need to have a clear picture of what you want your life to look like for the next 5-7 years. Will you still want to live in the same area, or will your job lead you elsewhere?
These are all questions to ask yourself before you start house hunting that will inform your process along the way and make your hunt a lot easier.
2. Not knowing your budget
It’s a common mistake for first-time buyers to go into the house hunting process without a clearly mapped budget. You want to make sure that after all of your expenses (mortgage payment, utilities, bills, debt, etc.) that you still have leftover income for savings, retirement, and an emergency fund.
Make a detailed spreadsheet of your expenses and determine how much you can afford each month before you start shopping for mortgages.
3. Borrowing the maximum amount
While it may be tempting to buy the most expensive house you can get approved for, there are a number of reasons this might be a bad idea for you, financially. Stretching your budget each month is putting yourself at risk for not being able to contribute to savings, retirement, and emergency funds.
Furthermore, you may find that the extra square-footage you purchased wasn’t worth having to cut corners in other areas of your life, like hobbies, entertainment, and dining out.
4. Forgetting important expenses
If you’re currently renting an apartment, you might be unaware of some of the lesser-known costs of homeownership. Your chosen lender will provide you with an estimate of the closing costs, which you’ll have to budget for.
However, there are also maintenance, repairs, utilities, and other bills that you’ll have to figure into your monthly budget.
5. Waiving contingencies or giving the benefit of the doubt
While it may seem like an act of goodwill to give the seller the benefit of the doubt when it comes to things like home inspections, it’s usually a bad idea to waive contingencies.
The process of purchasing a home, along with a purchase contract, have been designed to protect both your interests and the seller’s interests. It isn’t selfish to want to know exactly what you’re getting into when making a purchase as significant as a home.
If this is your first time buying a home, you might be worried that you aren’t asking enough questions. Or maybe you’re concerned you’re not asking the right questions--the things that matter the most when making a financial decision as important and life-changing as buying a home.
While everyone’s situation is unique when buying a home, there are some questions that all buyers could benefit from asking. These questions will help you learn more about the home, how competitive the house is, and how much work you’ll need to put into it.
Since time is usually of the essence for people buying a home, it makes sense to ask questions early on so that you don’t waste too much time exploring an option that isn’t ideal for your situation.
In this article, we’re going to give you 5 important questions to ask when you talk to a seller and their agent so that you can be prepared to make the best decision for you or your family.
1. How flexible is the asking price?
While few sellers or agents will outright tell you if they’d accept a lower offer, it’s still a good idea to ask this question, as it will open up a conversation about the seller’s feelings toward the home and whether they’re pricing high with the hopes of receiving slightly lower offers.
2. How many offers has the home received?
It may seem counterintuitive, but most agents and sellers will be quite happy to tell you if they’ve received other offers. They know that once you know the current offer you’ll have to either come up with a higher offer or move on. It’s a win-win for you and the seller, as it equips both of you with information you need to make the best choice.
3. Why are the sellers moving away?
This question can be personal, so if you receive an answer that suggests it’s a family matter, don’t press for too many details. However, some sellers and agents will let you know exactly why the house is for sale. From this simple question, you can learn the seller’s timeline for making the sale, details about the schools or neighborhoods, and any other reason that might drive someone to move out of the neighborhood.
4. Are there any problems with the house that you know of?
Although you’ll have an inspection contingency in your contract if you do decide to make an offer on the home, it’s better to know if there are any issues with the home before going through the bidding process.
Most sellers understand this and will be upfront about any problems with the home, including repairs that need to be made now or will need to be made soon after you move in.
5. What is the average cost of utilities?
Buying a home comes with a lot of added costs and fees. However, many people forget about the changes in the cost of utilities that comes with buying a home--especially if you’re moving from an apartment where some utilities may have been included.
The seller will be able to give you a good estimate on the cost of electricity, garbage removal, internet, heat, and more.
If you have walked into your kitchen at midnight, put on the lights and watched an army of cockroaches scatter into the dark crevices of your cabinets, then you know you have a bad situation on your hand. Cockroaches are not just terrible insects, but they can contaminate food and spread germs around the home. Follow these simple process to get rid of cockroaches in your home once and for all.
- Eliminate food and water sources. Cockroaches need stores of food and water to survive, so the first step in getting rid of them involves cutting them off from food and water. Always clean up spilled or leftover food or use sealed containers to store them. Your kitchen appliances, cabinets and even behind the refrigerator should be cleaned thoroughly every night to remove grease and spilled food. Their water sources include leaky pipes and wet drains, so they should be fixed and dried respectively. Place wet items like sponges and toothbrushes in an airtight bag to dry.
- Eliminate hiding places. Roaches love hiding in dark and damp places during the day, so you should focus on ridding your home of spaces like these. Clean up any clutter you have around such as cardboard boxes. You should also seal up cracks and holes in your walls with caulk to prevent entry. Make sure your under-cabinets are not damp and inviting for them.
- Use bait. Applying cockroach bait is also a simple and effective way of getting rid of cockroaches. While pesticides are not always advisable because of their likelihood of contaminating surfaces like countertops and appliances, baits are more straightforward and safer to use. Place bait in the areas of the highest cockroach traffic such as behind cabinets and countertops, around the sink and bathroom fixtures and pipes that come into the home.
- Use Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs). Insect Growth Regulators are synthetic chemicals that work to disrupt the natural life cycle of insects, functioning as a form of birth control for them, the idea being that if an insect cannot reach adulthood, then it becomes impossible for it to reproduce.
When finished with all these, there is the need for patience in waiting for results to become complete. Always bear in mind that getting rid of cockroaches is a constant process that has to be carried out regularly. Not sure of what kind of bait or IGR to buy, ask for recommendations at your local supermarket.
You know you want to pursue a home, and as such, likely plan to attend lots of house showings in the near future. Before you check out a residence in-person, however, it generally is a good idea to prepare as much as possible. That way, you can use a home showing to learn about a residence, evaluate a house's pros and cons and determine if a particular home is right for you.
Ultimately, there are many factors to consider before you attend a home showing, and these factors include:
1. Your Home Must-Haves
It often helps to make a list of "must-haves" prior to launching a house search. With this list at your disposal, you can narrow your home search and schedule showings for residences that offer the features you want.
You may want to put together a list of preferred cities and towns, too. This list will help you hone your house search to residences in cities and towns where you want to live. Then, you can set up showings to view residences in these areas.
2. Your Homebuying Budget
You likely have only a finite amount of money you can spend on a residence. If you start a house search with a budget in hand, you can search for homes that fall in line with your finances and schedule property showings accordingly.
Typically, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can learn about different home financing options. You then can select a mortgage and start to schedule showings for residences that correspond to your budget.
3. Your Homebuying Timeline
If you want to buy a house as quickly as possible, you may want to start scheduling home showings right away. This will enable you to find and relocate to a new home without delay.
On the other hand, if you can afford to be patient, you may want to take a wait-and-see approach to home showings. In this scenario, you may want to keep a close eye on the housing sector in your preferred cities and towns. Because if you do so, you can pounce at opportunities to view quality residences as soon as they become available.
As you get ready to pursue your ideal residence, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. A real estate agent can set up home showings and offer tips and recommendations to help you streamline your house search. In addition, if you ever have questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent can instantly respond to them.
When it comes to home showings, it may be beneficial to prepare. If you consider the aforementioned factors prior to a house showing, you may boost the likelihood of finding your dream house. Perhaps best of all, you could speed up your home search and discover a great residence that you can enjoy for years to come.