Buying a new home—especially if it’s your first one—is a milestone in anyone’s life. It’s also a time when your emotions can outweigh your more prudent nature. Homeownership is more than signing a contract and moving in—it has many consequences that can take new owners by surprise. Here are some of the main home-buying mistakes to avoid in Alpine, TX:
- Know what you can afford: It’s easy to fall in love with houses, but the last thing you want is to fall in love with one that you really can’t afford. Instead of attending open houses indiscriminately, figure out your budget and limit your search to places you can afford.
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage: In the same vein, it’s very helpful to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start looking. This allows you to see the difference between what the mortgage company will approve versus what you can afford. It also allows you to put in an offer quickly when you do find your dream home.
- Know what you want: Just like you need to know what you can afford and know that you’re approved for a mortgage, you should also have a good idea of your non-negotiables. For example, do you absolutely need a three-bedroom home in a good school district? Look at places in those categories—don’t make the mistake of settling for two bedrooms. You’ll end up unhappy, no matter how great a deal the property may seem to be.
- Get an agent: Working with a real estate agent is a smart idea—they’re ethically bound to advance your interests. You’ll also have an advocate on your side to advise you about whether a purchase is a smart one, whether a location is increasing in value and other important, expert advice.
- Shop around: Don’t buy the first house you tour, no matter how perfect it seems, and keep a healthy sense of skepticism about you. Staging and cosmetic fixes can be deceptive, eliciting a much higher price tag than a home without them. Ask your agent if you’re unsure. You should also be wary of fixer-uppers—don’t buy a home that requires more time than you can devote.
- Get all the right inspections: Never skip inspections, no matter how honest the seller seems. Before you make a major purchase, it’s important to make sure there aren’t any expensive, hidden flaws that could lead you to regret the sale.
- Be ready to say no: At the end of the day, the biggest mistake you can make is buying a house with glaring red flags, whether it’s in a bad neighborhood, doesn’t have enough bathrooms or doesn’t pass inspection. Desperation leads to poor decisions. Even if you’re able to turn around and sell the home right away, you’re going to end up paying additional closing and moving costs, as well as the agent’s commission.