Top 6 home buying mistakes to avoid at all costs

Avert a crisis: save yourself future headaches by knowing about these rookie errors before they can bite

Key takeaways:

  • You may sell your home one day, so keep what future buyers might want in mind
  • Just because you can spend a lot, doesn't mean you should—buy responsibly!
  • Be safe and get your own professional home inspection done no matter what
  • Make your own offer, negotiate, close and save with Home Savi to save thousands

Whether you use an agent or not, your journey to owning your own home will be littered with potential pitfalls. Luckily, by reading this, you'll be prepared to make quick work of these challenges. Let's go!

1) Not thinking about the future

Whether you're single, starting a family or have kids ready to leave the nest, always be thinking ahead. If you're starting a family, you'll need more space in the future. If your kids are off to college soon, you may want to downsize in the coming years, so keep that in the back of your mind before searching for homes.

Because the average buyer only stays in their home for 13 years before moving, chances are that you'll have to sell your home in the future. So, when you buy, don't fall into the trap of only thinking only about what you want in a home—remember to be cognizant of what future buyers might want, too. Do your research on school districts and monitor how resale values have behaved as well. Read more tips here.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before buying:

  • Are home values appreciating in the area?
  • Is the location in an up-and-coming neighborhood?
  • Is there a lot of unused land nearby that could be developed (shops, roads, homes, etc.)?
  • How would the above projects affect the home's value?

Fun fact: Homes located within a mile of a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods tend to appreciate faster! No joke.

2) Budget issues

Remember, just because you can spend a certain amount, doesn't mean you should. To stay financially responsible, set a realistic budget, get pre-approved and make a fair (but competitive) offer price. Also, know that buying a home comes with several hidden costs. Here are just a few:

Being pragmatic with your budget from the get-go will keep you out of high water if a pipe bursts unexpectedly or if, for example, your fridge breaks down. If you have to use all of your emergency funds and dip deep into your retirement savings just to make your down payment, you cannot afford the home!

3) Not prioritizing

Before you begin your home search, it's important to make an ordered list of what you want in a home and why. This way, when you're viewing homes, you'll already have guidelines for what you need to buy. This will prevent you from falling for features you really don't need. Because you'll know where your priorities lie, you'll know where you can compromise, as well as what things you absolutely must have, including features such as the number of bedrooms, distances to amenities or quality of nearby school districts.

4) Not knowing when to walk away

Nobody is pushing you to buy a home but yourself. It's better to hold out for a home that you'll be happy with for years to come rather than rushing into a purchase that you'll regret. It's also important to be realistic. If you can't afford a home in your area, it's best to look in a more affordable neighborhood, pay off debt or repair your credit before buying. If you got rejected for a loan, here's how to bounce back stronger.

Also, research the housing market in the area and know when to walk away from a home (no matter how perfect it seems). Sites like HouseCanary and help you determine a home's true value. If the seller is asking for considerably more than their home is worth, stay away and don't let your wallet get taken for a ride.

5) Not hiring your own professional home inspector

Even if the seller provides you with a report from an inspection they had completed on their own dime, you should always have your own home inspector take a look at the home. A home inspection by a trained inspector will reveal any safety issues and major or minor defects that could lead to problems or repairs in the future. The inspector will check the condition of the home in areas you may not be able to see or easily access, like the roof. Learn how to find and choose a qualified home inspector.

Read more about what's covered in a normal inspection and why you should accompany the inspector during the inspection here. Make sure to discuss the final home inspection report with your inspector so that you fully understand any faults that were found.

6) Not looking into representing yourself

Technology has completely changed the home buying game. These days, according to a National Association of Realtors survey, 51% of homebuyers under the age of 50 find the home they actually purchase through the internet. Other things you do on your own include checking out open houses, scheduling showings, talking to lenders and getting your financial ducks in a row. You're doing so much of the heavy lifting yourself, so why not make your own offers?

Remember, you pay your buyer’s agent tens of thousands of dollars. Ask yourself, “is it really worth it?”

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Home Savi is the first true DIY home buying platform that empowers you to offer, negotiate, close and save big on the home of your dreams. In the past, representing yourself meant paying a real estate attorney around 3–5 thousand dollars to write up and review a contract. And that was just the start. If you needed a counter offer drafted and gave them a buzz, the price would run even higher.

Life of a Home Savi transaction

But now, with Home Savi, you can close for as little as $648! Yeah, you read that right. There are no commissions involved either; you only pay based on how many offers you want to submit. Best of all, you can try it out for free—all you have to do is sign up and get going!