North Dakotans—Don’t Make These Rookie Mistakes When Buying A House
Buying your first home (or even a 2nd or 3rd home) can be stressful, emotional, and overwhelming. I purchased my first home in Spokane several years ago and I feel that I made a great choice. However, others have not been so lucky. Many first-time homebuyers make decisions on emotions, they fall in love with a home, they get caught up in bidding wars they can’t afford, and they make mistakes. Many of them “buy for the moment” and don’t look down the road.
Zillow shared the results of a survey they performed for first-time homebuyers after the dust had settled from their move; it turns out that almost half of them said they would do things differently if they had it to do over. Here are the biggest regrets they shared in the survey:
1) Size and layout: 62% of buyers with regrets said they wish their homes were bigger or laid out differently. They wish they had bigger kitchens, more storage space or just more space in general. It’s not just about the square footage, but the floor plan. With a good layout, smaller square footage homes can feel larger. When touring a home, picture yourself and your family members actually living and spending time there to make sure the layout will suit your family’s needs.
2) The cost: In the Zillow survey, 40% of first-time buyers with regrets said they either paid too much or should have put more money down on their homes. More than 38% said they were surprised by how much it costs to maintain their new homes, and 20% were surprised by the closing costs. Of their lessons learned about costs, 20% wish they had negotiated more on price, and 14% wish they had shopped around more for a mortgage.
3) The neighborhood: More than a quarter of those with regrets said they don’t like their neighborhood. Before making any offers, many agents advise their buyers to visit the neighborhoods on Friday nights. If it’s crowded with cars where you can barely drive up and down the street, and neighbors have their garage doors open, their lawn chairs lined up and their beer coolers out, and you are not a party person, you might think twice about moving there. However, if that’s what you like to do…then you are home.
4) The yard: Almost 1 in 4 homeowners had a regret about their yard. Of those regretters, half wished they had picked bigger yards, and the other half wish they had easier yards to maintain. Do your homework and be realistic about what you want in a yard before you buy. If you are a person who travels a lot during summer, unless you plan on hiring someone to maintain your lawn, buying a home with a huge yard probably isn’t a wise choice.
5) Parking: Nearly 17 percent of first-time buyers with regrets wish they had a different parking situation ---another important detail that might get lost in the rush of emotion when buying a new home. Make sure your garage/driveway/street will be able to accommodate your cars and those of your guests.
Even though buying a home is exciting, don’t get caught up in your emotions…. be sure you pay attention to what may seem like small details now, so they do not become big headaches down the road!