First-time home buyers are emerging as a bigger force in the housing market, helping to lift home sales. But getting approved for a mortgage, finding the right home, and staying within a budget are still posing some of the biggest challenges for first-timers.
Bankrate.com notes some of the most common mistakes made by first-time home buyers:
1. Just judging the mortgage payment: First-time home buyers shouldn't make the mistake of believing that just because they can afford the mortgage payment, they'll be able to afford everything else with the home. "They have an idea of what their mortgage payment is going to be, but they don't realize there's much more to it," says attorney Rafael Castellanos, a managing director at Expert Title Insurance. Property insurance, taxes, homeowner association dues, maintenance, and utility bills can add up too.
2. Emptying out their savings for a down payment: Spending their entire savings on a down payment and closing costs is also a big mistake, says Ed Conarchy, a mortgage planner and investment adviser at Cherry Creek Mortgage in Gurnee, Ill. "Some people scrape all their money together to make the 20 percent down payment so they don't have to pay for mortgage insurance, but they are picking the wrong poison because they are left with no savings at all," he says. "I'd take paying for mortgage insurance any day over not having money for rainy days. Everyone -- especially home owners -- needs to have a rainy-day fund."
3. Getting new credit before the deal is closed: When borrowers are prequalified for a loan, they need to avoid any big-ticket purchases until the loan closes. Lenders pull credit reports before the closing to make sure the borrower’s financial situation has not changed since the loan was approved. Any new loans on their credit report could cause a closing delay.
First-time buyers "sign the contract and they want to buy new furniture for the house or a new car," says Steve Anderson, a broker and owner at RE/MAX Benchmark Realty in Las Vegas. "I remember one case where just before closing, the buyer drove to the office and says, 'Look at my brand-new car.' I told them, 'You'd better go back to that dealership.'"