House hunting is definitely not as easy or as glamorous as they make it out to be on HGTV. Buying a house marks a major mile couple milestone, but there are five important mistakes you need to avoid before you sign on the dotted line.
Not having a pre-approval letter. Before you can buy the house of your dreams with your significant other, there's one big document that's stopping you—a mortgage pre-approval letter. "Most real estate agents won’t take you on as a client without having a letter confirming your pre-qualification and loan amount in hand," says the Movoto Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping first-time homebuyers. "And sellers will definitely not consider your bid without one."
Looking too far (or too close!) from family. If Sunday dinners with your family mean the world to you, you might want to avoid looking for houses on the complete opposite end of town. On the other end of the spectrum, maybe if your in-laws also live in town, a little distance could be just what you need.
Not keeping kids in mind. If you're looking at homes that are the perfect size for two people, ask yourselves if you want to start a family in the near future. Make sure your house can spaciously fit the two of you and any newcomers who might also be living under your roof one day.
Settling for a house that needs repair work. No home on the market is going to meet every single one of your picky criteria, so budget for home repairs. However, you don't want to buy a fixer-upper house that racks up repair bills higher than the mortgage itself. You also need to be wary of taking on too many DIY home projects. Some things are best left to professionals.
Going it alone. Hiring a realtor might seem pointless, but it's worth every penny, especially if you're a first-time home buyer. This can help save time and ensure that you're actually looking at places within your budget. They can also help mediate any negotiations. Think of a real estate as your lifeline during the stressful house hunting process.