7 Common Home Buying Mistakes to Avoid in Alexandria, VA

home buying mistakes

Did you know that home sales in Virginia are on the rise? The number of homes sold last year increased by 10.2% from the previous one. From first-time home buyers to those looking for their next dream home, there wasn’t a shortage of buyers in the housing market. 

The home buying process can be overwhelming, even for seasoned buyers. You should be aware of a few home-buying mistakes before starting the process. Knowing common mistakes beforehand will help you avoid them. 

Purchasing a home is a significant life decision. This guide will discuss home buyers’ top seven mistakes when buying homes in Alexandria. 

1. Not Buying Within Your Means

Knowing how much of a monthly payment you can afford is essential when creating your home buying strategy. You’ll need to take a deep dive into your monthly and yearly budgets. Review your current expenses and costs and predict new expenses you might encounter after purchasing a home. 

Some increased or additional costs might include:

  • Property taxes
  • Mortgage payment
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Furniture
  • Utilities 
  • Landscaping 
  • Condo or Homeowners Association (HOA) fees 

You should also start saving money for an emergency fund to cover problems like unexpected repairs or broken appliances. If your estimated costs are too high, you might have to rethink your budget. You can adjust your budget by reducing expenses or looking at less expensive homes. 

Many homeowners don’t take the time to review their budget before looking at options for homes. You need to know what you can afford. You don’t want to end up underwater in your home or stretched too thin. 

2. Not Getting Preapproved

Getting preapproved for a mortgage is one of the initial steps you should take before looking at homes. A mortgage preapproval tells you how much the bank agrees to lend you. The bank will look at multiple factors, including your:

  • Debt-to-income ratio (DTI)
  • Credit score
  • Savings
  • Income

By getting preapproved, you’ll know the maximum price you can qualify for before you start looking at homes. If you don’t get preapproved, you won’t know how much a lender will loan you for a home. You also won’t know what interest rate you’ll qualify for. 

Additionally, you don’t know if you’ll get approved for a mortgage without getting preapproved. You could end up wasting your time searching for homes. Make an appointment with a mortgage lender to get preapproved before you start looking at homes. 

3. Not Working With a Real Estate Agent

Some potential home buyers might think it’s an excellent option not to work with a real estate agent so they can save money. However, it’s not a great idea unless you’re familiar with property negotiations and real estate law. 

A buyer’s agent’s fee is included in your closing costs. You don’t have to pay your real estate agent out of pocket. 

Having a real estate agent provides you with multiple benefits, including:

  • Access to property listing tools
  • Negotiating conditions and offers
  • Networking with property owners and realtors to find upcoming listings 
  • Dealing with paperwork
  • Helping you find a lawyer, home inspector, or another professional you might need
  • Ensuring you know of essential disclosures

A buyer’s agent will advocate on your behalf and help you find the best property that fits your budget and lifestyle. 

4. Buying a Home That Needs Too Much Work

Buying a fixer-upper home has been made popular by reality TV shows on home design networks. For the average homeowner, purchasing a fixer-upper is a lot of work. Some homeowners overestimate their DIY skills and buy a home that requires more money and time than they can afford. 

When you purchase a home that needs work, you’ll have enough money to cover the costs of labor and materials. If you have experience with home renovations, you might save some money on labor. The price of professional contractors can be relatively high, depending upon the project. 

Before you purchase a home, think about how much work it needs. Consider if you have enough budget and time to make the upgrades. 

5. Feeling Apprehensive 

If you don’t feel 100% on board with your real estate agent, an offer, your financial situation, or a home, then it’s not right. Buying a home is a significant financial commitment. You need to feel confident and comfortable when moving forward. 

Listen to your gut — if something doesn’t feel right, take the time to figure out what it is. Most homeowners feel nervous about taking out a mortgage. Pay attention if you feel dread, uneasiness, or uncertainty. 

6. Offering Too Low of a Price

A common rookie mistake is offering a lowball price on a home. Lowball offers tend to offend the home seller. You’ll start the negotiating process on the wrong foot, sometimes ending them before you get started. 

Typically, sellers work with their agents to price their houses based on comparable homes, the market, and other factors. Lowball offers aren’t usually accepted, and neither party benefits from them. 

Listen to your agent when you’re ready to make an offer on a home. Make a fair offer for the home. 

7. Not Having a Strong Downpayment

Multiple home loan types are available that require varying amounts for the down payment. For example, veterans can qualify for a VA loan with 0% down. FHA loans are available for those with low down payments and bad credit. 

You’ll typically need a large down payment for those who want to pursue a conventional loan. A bigger down payment will help you avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI). Most mortgage lenders want you to put down at least 20% of the house’s purchase price. 

Not having a large home loan can affect how much the bank will lend you. It’ll also affect your interest rate. 

Avoid Making These Home Buying Mistakes

Purchasing a home might seem overwhelming and daunting. Taking the time to slow down and do your research beforehand will help you avoid getting into an unpleasant situation. Learning about common home-buying mistakes will help you get on the right path. 

Are you ready to learn more about living in Alexandria? Schedule a consultation with the Liz Luke Team. We’re prepared to help you find your dream home.