Mistakes First-Time Homebuyers Make: What to Avoid

In a perfect world, we’d never make mistakes and all of our decisions would turn out exactly as planned. Unfortunately, that isn’t realistic or even possible. It’s even less so when we’re put in new and unfamiliar situations, like buying a house for the first time. After all, if you don’t have any experience doing something, you’re inevitably going to make a few missteps. Here are a few of the most common mistakes millennial buyers make.

Not having a down payment

Buying your first house can present challenges that you likely won’t find when buying your second or subsequent homes. Among them, having the down payment tops the list. After all, a current homeowner can use the sale of their house to help fund the upfront costs of buying another. However, without a house to sell, you’ll have to come up with a down payment the old fashioned way: by saving it. That can be difficult if, for example, you’re paying rent, have student loans, or are just getting started in your career and aren’t making much money yet.

There is good news though. For starters, you’ll have options. Not all loans require a 20% down payment. Depending on the terms of your loan, you may be able to put much less down upfront in exchange for a higher monthly mortgage payment. You can also look into assistance programs or use a gift from a family member to help gather the money. What you can’t do is expect to buy your first house without having put some thought into where the money will come from.

Having unreasonable expectations

If you’re thinking of buying a house, you’ve no doubt given some thought to all of the things you’d like to have. Dreaming of your new life in your new home is exciting, but it can lead to some pretty unreasonable expectations. Unless you’re building a custom home, you may have to compromise.

If you’re expecting to find all of the items on your wish list in one house, you may well end up passing on a great house. Before looking at homes to buy, work with your Realtor to learn about what’s most important for you to focus on. This will help you make better decisions and reduce the risk of losing a good house to a more realistic buyer.

Not considering all of the costs

There are a couple of numbers that get the most attention from buyers. Your down payment is one of them. The other is your monthly mortgage payment. However, millennial buyers who make the mistake of just focusing on the most obvious costs may be missing some of the other expenses of buying a house, which is a mistake.

For example, before you get the keys to your house, you’ll have to pay closing costs. These can be significant and an unwelcome surprise if you haven’t planned for them. In addition, you’ll also need to have money to cover any moving expenses, possible repairs/renovations, as well as any needed furniture, supplies, or appliances. Then, after you’ve settled in, you need to be prepared for any unexpected emergencies and routine maintenance that arise along the way.

In short, don’t make the mistake of focusing on the big-ticket items and not taking a careful look at all of the costs and responsibilities of becoming a homeowner.