Posted in: Buying a home, Getting a mortgage

Four common buyer mistakes (and how you can avoid them)

How to avoid common homebuyer mistakes

Buying a home is a long-term investment, so you’ll want to be sure you’re making the best decision when it comes time for you to purchase a house. We’ve gathered information on the four most common homebuyer mistakes and some insights you can use to avoid them.

Key Insights

  • Many buyers report their homes being too small; buyers can avoid being boxed in by planning 7–10 years into the future when making a home purchase.
  • Twelve percent of millennials run into the same home buying problem involving paperwork, but simple steps exist to help you work around it!
  • Buying a home isn’t all about the price; consider the neighborhood you’ll be in, your daily commute and more.

Homebuyer mistake #1: Buying a house that’s too small

According to a recent study, 33 percent of homebuyers regret purchasing a house that's too small. Although the trendy two-bedroom urban home may seem like the perfect place to call yours today, that might not be the case in a few years.

Keep in mind, homebuyers are spending an average of 10 years in their home. This is longer than before the market downturn; from 1985-2008, median tenure was fewer than six years.

The easiest way to avoid buying a too-small home is to consider beyond the next few years as you search. Focus on the decade to come, making sure you have enough space for the kiddos you're hoping for, the entertaining you want to do or the in-home doggie daycare you want to open.

Homebuyer mistake #2: Not being organized

Fourteen percent of millennials NerdWallet surveyed wished they were more organized with account and employment-related paperwork as they applied for a home mortgage loan.

If you find yourself in this boat, don’t worry — this is so easy to fix! When purchasing a home, you’ll likely have to provide information like W2 forms, tax returns, bank statements and more.

To get your finances in order for home buying, we recommend that you speak with your lender a few months before you begin searching in earnest. But even if you don’t, Edina Realty Mortgage’s application process can pull in relevant bank accounts and information, so that you have to shuffle through less paperwork as you apply for a mortgage loan.

Homebuyer mistake #3: Too many (or too few) home improvements

It can also be an issue if the home is either too updated or not updated enough. A recent study showed that 26 percent of homebuyers wished they’d completed more (or fewer) home improvements after buying.

If you’re buying a home in need of significant work and want to make sure you have the funds to get that done, consider looking at 203k loans. These loans help you determine must-complete renovations and facilitate an efficient process to help get those updates done within six months after closing — rather than buying a house you intend to fix up, but never get around to.

On the other hand, be sure to seriously consider if you really want to invest the time, money and energy required to remodel a fixer-upper. When you picture your house, are you inspired by DIY renovations? Or do you want to put your feet up and enjoy something more turnkey?

Homebuyer mistake #4: Not getting to know the neighborhood

Getting to know your new home — inside and outside of its walls — is important. Fifteen percent of buyers in a recent survey said they wished they’d known more about their home or neighborhood before buying.

To familiarize yourself with the neighborhood where you plan to move, spend some time there on a weeknight and weekend. If you care about walkability, try parking your car and running some errands. If you’re more focused on commute time, test-drive your route to work and other common destinations, like the grocery store or your child’s daycare.

And remember, you can determine your commute times for every property you search on Edina Realty’s app:

You can also get to know the area better by talking to local experts. Have casual conversations with local proprietors or people at the park to get to know the pros and cons of the area. And when you find that you’re serious about buying, hire a local specialist who understands the ins and outs of the neighborhood — and its benefits and disadvantages.

Are you ready to buy a home?

Now that you’re familiar with the most common buyer mistakes — and how you can avoid them — you’re well on your way to a happy home purchase. For more insights you can use in the home buying process, reach out to Edina Realty customer care team. They’ll match you with a local expert who can help you narrow down your search.

For even more tips on buying a home, follow #BuyerInsights on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Edina Realty Mortgage is an affiliate of Edina Realty. See Affiliated Business Arrangement Disclosure Statement.

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Status Definitions

For sale: Properties which are available for showings and purchase

Active contingent: Properties which are available for showing but are under contract with another buyer

Pending: Properties which are under contract with a buyer and are no longer available for showings

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Coming soon: Properties which will be on the market soon and are not available for showings.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings