6 Most Common House Hunting Mistakes – And How to Avoid Them

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a house hunting veteran, there are a few common mistakes that you don’t want to make. Buying a home is a big step for anyone, and there may be a lot at risk in the process. Not only do you want to consider your current housing needs but anticipate your future necessities. 

All this planning and consideration takes time. In fact, many prospective home buyers take up to six months to settle on the right house. The steps to buying a house vary between house hunters; some buyers may be more flexible with various housing criteria while others take longer to find a home that checks all the boxes.

No matter what type of buyer you are, buying a house is one of the most important decisions you can make. Here are the six most common house hunting mistakes that buyers make and how you can avoid making them.

Not knowing your budget
Not knowing your budget

Whether you are buying your first home or your seventh, understanding your budget is one of the most important steps. If you start looking for homes without a price point in mind, it will only lead to more stress and confusion.

Picture this: you finally find a home that you love. You can see yourself and your family growing old here. That dream can be snatched away in an instant if you find out the house costs thousands of dollars more than what you expected.

Start your house hunting off right by understanding what you can afford. Go over your finances. Get preapproved before you look for any homes. This will help make sure that the only houses you see in your results page are the ones you can afford.

Not taking your time
Not taking your time

Buying a home does not happen overnight. While some buyers may be willing to overlook small details, it is always best to take your time during your search. It isn’t just about finding a home and making an offer – it’s about comparing your options, discussing the details and making an informed decision.

There are millions of houses to buy across the United States. You may already have an idea of where you want to live, but have you considered all the smaller details surrounding your choice? Consider the neighborhood, school district, crime rate, commute time and other criteria such as these.

Also, if you do not shop around and compare homes, you may not be getting the best bang for your buck. The housing market fluctuates daily; by taking your time, you can get a better idea of market trends and price fluctuations.

Not choosing the right financing option
Not choosing the right financing option

One of the most important steps to buying a house is determining how you plan to pay for it. Most buyers do not have the means to pay for a home outright, which is why nearly all buyers finance the cost of the home using a mortgage.

There are dozens of financing options available. The loan you choose should reflect your financial needs and other personal criteria. For example, as a 1st time home buyer, you may benefit from a loan that carries benefits for new homeowners. 

If you are buying your first home, consider an FHA loan. This financing option helps lower the down payment on a house, which can save you thousands of dollars upfront. Other financing options include:

  • Conventional loans.
  • VA loans.
  • USDA loans.
Being too picky
Being too picky

Buying a home is a game of give and take. This is especially true if you are a first time home buyer, as you likely do not have any equity to use to your advantage. You may need to make some sacrifices while searching for a home.

Knowing what to look for when buying a house is key, especially if it will be your first home purchase. You may not be able to afford a turnkey house; if your budget is leading you toward older homes in need of some cosmetic work, it isn’t the end of the world.

This does not mean compromising on your must-have features. For example, if you know you need at least three bedrooms or are set on a specific neighborhood, you do not need to concede these features. It may just mean opening your mind a bit or reframing your attitude to consider homes that need a bit of TLC.

Not being picky enough
Not being picky enough

On the flip side, you may be too open-minded during your home search. House hunting requires you to make some tough decisions in order to get closer to finding the home of your dreams. If you don’t narrow down your options, you may be left sorting through thousands of listings.

Before starting your home search, come up with a few must-have features that you know you will need. Do you need a certain number of bedrooms? Are you open to townhomes, condominiums or multi-family properties? Do you want a backyard?

Finding houses to buy is much easier when you narrow down your options. Don’t waste your time touring houses that do not meet your expectations.

Not factoring in the future
Not factoring in the future

If you are buying a house for the first time, it can be easy to fall into the trap of the “now.” In other words, you may only be considering homes that fit your current needs. But buying a home is a big investment; chances are you will reside in your first home for several years.

If you are buying your first home as a single individual, you may not think you need a lot of space. Consider where you see yourself in five years. Do you plan to have children? Are you buying the home as an investment for a rental property? Will your job require you to move frequently?

Answering questions about the future can help you plan a bit better. There’s nothing worse than realizing the home you purchased a year ago no longer fits your needs.