Is this your first time buying a home? Do you want it to go as smoothly as possible? 

This blog will outline the 3 most common homebuyer mistakes I see all the time, so you can avoid them in your home buying journey! Be sure to stick around for the bonus mistake that many people are completely unaware of.

It’s Jemma Sallay-Carrington here, residential realtor working in Vancouver and the North Shore, specializing in helping renters become homeowners.

Mistake #1: Starting The Search Without Being Prepared

Looking for homes online can be a lot of fun, as well as going to open houses. This is all good fun if you’re not actually serious about buying.

If you are serious  and you’re doing this without speaking to a real estate professional first, you could be setting yourself up for potential heartbreak. Whether you’re looking for homes out of your budget, or maybe you’re looking for homes in your budget but you’re not ready to write an offer… Heartbreak is no fun. 

Really, the first thing you should do if you are considering buying your first home is speak to a realtor first. The reason I say this, while you can go directly to a mortgage broker, is because a realtor will have contacts for some local trusted mortgage specialists that they can direct you to. 

This way you’ll be prepared with a pre-approval and an agent already on your side looking for your new home.

Mistake # 2: Focusing On “Wants” Rather Than “Needs”

In an ideal world, we can all purchase our dream property right off the bat… but in reality, we’ve got to work our way UP to that dream home.

This is why I always emphasize the “wants” vs. “needs” list with my clients. I love sitting down over a cup of coffee or going for a walk and chatting about this list.. Really getting down to the stuff that matters in your future home.

Is it important to you that you have a gas stove or that you are allowed to rent your unit if you need? Is that second bathroom important to you, or would you give it up if you’re able to have an office space? These are just examples of what might cross your mind when you start looking at homes, so definitely be prepared with what you simply cannot give up, and what you could do without.

You really want to think about the next 5 or so years, as this is about how long people tend to stay in their first home. And remember – this is your first home, and it will typically not be your dream home but you’ll work your way up to it!

Mistake #3: Making Yourself “House Broke”

What I mean by this is stretching yourself too thin and not having anything left for the ongoing costs of homeownership. Keep in mind, I am not a financial expert, but I want to make sure you can still LIVE after moving into your home.

While your bank, lender or mortgage broker will use your income to calculate how much you can borrow for your mortgage, they are not calculating how much your lifestyle costs, cash purchases you might make or home purchases you may need to make after closing. 

You will want to do your own budgeting and calculations to find out how much you may actually want to spend.

I do see people stretching themselves so thin trying to make a larger down payment, especially trying to reach that 20% down payment mark in order to avoid mortgage insurance, but you don’t want to do this if you won’t have ANY cushion leftover.

Make sure you factor in the extra closing costs, which is covered in greater detail in another video of mine.

Bonus Mistake

Now the little bonus mistake I see is home buyers trying to navigate the buying process by themselves!

While it is definitely possible to buy a home by yourself, you don’t have to because it’s actually FREE as a buyer to use a realtor. The buyer’s realtor gets paid a commission out of the seller’s closing costs, so use this to your advantage and have an expert do all the work for you!

While Buying A Home Can Have A Lot Of Ups And Downs In It, I Hope This Video Helps You Avoid Some Common Home Buyer Mistakes And Make The Process A Little Smoother For You.

You might also be interested in learning about the dates you will find on a contract of purchase and sale or what to do after you close on your first home.

As always, you can get a hold of me anytime with questions about buying or selling, and I look forward to helping you find your first home!

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