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Whether you’re buying your first home or your fourth home, the home-buying process can be complicated. With the right research and preparation though, it doesn’t need to be stressful. Often times, a stressful home-buying experience is a result of a few common mistakes. These errors can stall a prospective buyer’s timeline and destroy their budget. If you’re in the market for a St. Louis home to call your own, here are the mistakes you’ll want to avoid along the way.
Lack of Preparation
The further in advance you’re able to begin the home-buying process, the better. The more time you give yourself to prepare, the smoother the process will go. This doesn’t just mean checking out listings online, though. When possible, preparation will begin before you even start looking for your St. Louis home. Building your savings account and working to increase your credit score are both important early steps in the process. Once you’re ready to begin looking at homes, it’s a good idea to get pre-approved for your mortgage. This will help you connect with a good lender, start to explore your options, and better assess your finances.
Lack of Priorities
When you aren’t clear on your priorities ahead of time, it’s easy to make a decision you’ll end up regretting down the line. Especially if you’re shopping with a partner, communicating about your priorities is key. Whether on your own or with someone else, identify your priorities before you begin searching. Separate your wants from needs so you can easily pinpoint your best options and eliminate those that aren’t right. Many homebuyers underestimate the importance of neighborhood. Determine the areas of St. Louis that best suit your lifestyle and needs, and focus your search there. Is an extra bedroom a must? How important is a yard? What about a garage? The sooner you consider these types of questions and get clear on your answers, the easier the house-hunting process will be.
More specifically, estimating incorrectly. Many buyers assume they will need to make a 20% downpayment, and many times, this isn’t the case. Rather than making assumptions, talk with your lender so that you fully understand your options. Especially for first-time buyers, it can be easy to overlook the costs of homeownership. They make their house budget off of their current situation and forget to consider the taxes and unexpected expenses that homeowners need to cover. Make sure you take these things into consideration when determining what you can afford. Some buyers will also use misestimation to allow themselves to overspend. When you aren’t clear with your finances and make quick, broad estimates, you’re taking on a significant amount of unnecessary risk.
Not Communicating with Your Agent
Working with an agent can really help buyers navigate their house search. That being said, simply having an agent doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be worry free. To get the most from the relationship, you need to have open, honest communication. This means searching for an agent you connect with and who takes the time to get to know you. It also means being clear about your priorities and needs so they can deliver the best results. If you’re ever feeling confused or unsure, don’t hesitate to reach out with questions.
Finally, the prospect of buying a home can be exciting. Whether you’ve already owned a home in St. Louis, or you’re on the road to purchasing your first, it’s a great city with some amazing homes. Be sure not to let that excitement lead to impulsive decision making. Buying a home can be an emotional process, but buyers shouldn’t let that cloud their thinking.
If you’re on the hunt for your St. Louis home, avoid these common mistakes for a smoother process. With careful preparation and open communication, you’ll set yourself up to find a great St. Louis home. Are there any other home-buying mistakes you or someone you know has fallen into? Share them with us.