Seven mistakes people make when buying a home

Buying a new house, especially if you’re a first-time buyer, is an exciting process. But some people can get so excited about the idea of buying the house, they neglect to consider a number of important points. It’s easy to make a mistake. But it can be an expensive mistake to make. It’s important that you know what to expect and look out for when buying a home. So, here are just some of the mistakes that many people make when buying a home.

Lack of planning

Many people choose a new home without planning what they’ll need to do with the space. It might have two bedrooms when you need four. It might have one bathroom and you’d prefer two. It might have all the rooms totally closed off while you enjoy living in a more open space. Before getting to the next step – like looking through law guides around buying and selling a house, putting pen to paper and making the sale official – it’s important that you know what you expect from a house.

Buying too big

This is a common problem faced by many buyers. They have a certain budget in mind and buy at the maximum of that budget. But the reality is that you probably don’t need six bedrooms or five bathrooms. You likely don’t need that extra lounge or another entertainment area. So, buy what you need now and what you can foresee your family needing in the next five to 10 years. Anything more than that is unnecessary.

Saving only the bare minimum

You’ve become used to the idea that you need to save 10% for a deposit. That’s all the money you have. So, when you’ve put down your deposit and are suddenly faced with lawyer fees, transfer duty, bond fees and others, you have no money left. You’ll have to do whatever you can to gather the money needed to pay these important expenses.

Going beyond your budget

Another common problem when buying a house is spending more than you can actually afford. This will lead to you struggling to pay the bond every month. Yes, it can be easy to become overwhelmed when looking at properties, but it’s not recommended that you spend more than you can actually afford. Banks will tell you that you can afford a home of a certain value but they can’t see the full picture of your expenses. That’s something only you can know and a decision that only you can make. Financial experts generally recommend that your total housing costs should not exceed 25% of your gross salary. So, take your salary paid by your employer and divide that by four. That’s how much you can afford to pay for your bond, rates and taxes, water and electricity, insurances and other household expenses.

Falling in love

The reason many people feel tempted to go beyond their budget is because they fall in love with a home. They walk through the doors and immediately love the view from the kitchen window, the parquet flooring and the immaculately landscaped garden. All of those things are great, there’s no doubt about that. But those things won’t mean much when you can't afford to pay your bond. Real estate agents are looking at you and will notice the expression on your face when you fall in love with a home. So, keep your expression neutral when looking around while inside houses and pretend to be unimpressed (yes, even when looking at the light streaming through the window onto that shiny floor).

Buying because you’re desperate

There comes a point in every house buyer’s life when they’re so desperate to find a new property, that they’ll settle for the first house they find. But that house is usually not exactly what they want. Being desperate makes your thinking cloudy. You aren’t weighing up the pros and cons the way you would if you were relaxed and calm about the process.

Going solo

Every homebuyer has, at some point, been convinced they can handle the process themselves. You’ve likely bought and sold cars, and bought and sold household goods on online classifieds websites. You know what you’re doing, you think to yourself. But buying a house is different. For starters, it’s a whole lot more money. Secondly, there are technicalities and legalities that you might not be aware of. You wouldn’t attempt to defend yourself in court, would you? Why would you think you can represent yourself here?

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