Searching for a house is an exciting process and one that comes with certain challenges. For most people, a home is the largest investment they ever make. You don’t want to make the wrong choice as you’ll have to live with it for some time. Yet there are some common pitfalls that you can easily fall into if you’re not careful. The following are tips for house hunters in North Virginia. 

1. Overlooking Expenses

First-time home buyers in the North Virginia and Washington D.C. metro area often underestimate the many costs associated with purchasing a home. There’s quite a bit more to consider than the actual price. You need to factor in taxes, closing costs, insurance, utilities, and mortgage payments. You also have to consider any repairs or renovations your new house will need. Be sure to make a comprehensive inventory of all costs before you make a decision. 

2. Avoid Showing Too Much Enthusiasm

Dating coaches and relationship experts will advise you not to show too much interest at the beginning of a relationship as this tends to put the other person off. There’s a similar rule when searching for a home. If it’s obvious that you’re totally enamored with a home, the owner or real estate agent will sense this and you’ll be at a disadvantage when negotiating. Always show some reserve even if you think you’ve found your dream home. 

3. Not Knowing What’s Included

The home you look at isn’t necessarily exactly the same as the one you buy. Before making an offer, make sure you understand precisely what is and isn’t included. The seller may be taking things like kitchen appliances, carpeting, light fixtures, or other items with them. If you want something, make sure you ask about it and use it as a negotiating point. When you sign a contract, it should include every detail about what you’re getting.

4. Not Getting a Home Inspection

home inspection is an essential part of the buying process. While it’s nice to take people at their word, with such a large investment you can’t afford to leave anything to chance. In some cases, there may be serious problems of which the owners aren’t even aware. If there are structural problems with the home, termites, a damaged roof, or other serious issues you need to know about them. Otherwise, you risk facing hefty repairs after you move in. A home inspection protects you from making serious mistakes. At the very least, if a problem is spotted it gives you negotiating power. 

5. Buying More House Than You Can Afford

It can be tempting to overextend yourself when buying a home. One common mistake is to use up all your savings for a down payment. This can put you in a precarious position if you face an emergency. It’s best to get pre-approved for a mortgage so you have a clear idea of what you can afford. Try to avoid buying at the upper limit of the amount for which you’re approved. This will stretch your budget and can cause problems if you face hardships such as a decline in income.  

6. Not Researching the City or Neighborhood

There’s a reason for the real estate adage “Location, Location, Location.” The location of a home is at least as important as the walls, roof, and property. This includes both the town and city as well as the specific neighborhood. Don’t make the mistake of buying a home you love while downplaying the importance of the location. If you have to drive to work, how long is your commute? How convenient is it to shopping? What are the local crime statistics? If you have kids (or plan to), what are the local schools like? These are just a few of the questions to research before buying a home. 

7.  Making Large Purchases or Financial Decision Before the Closing 

When you apply for a mortgage, your approval is based on your current financial situation. If this changes substantially after you’re approved, it could jeopardize the closing. Don’t make any large purchases such as a car or major appliance. It’s also not a good time to quit your job, take an expensive trip, apply for another type of loan, or do anything else that affects your credit score. 

These are some of the most common and costly mistakes often made by novice home buyers. Buying a home is a large investment and one that requires a great deal of planning and research. Taking a little extra time to do all the necessary legwork will help you make a better decision. 

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