10 Things People Regret Overlooking When Buying a Home
The home-buying process is complicated and even the most prepared have regrets. Here are some of the things people regret overlooking after buying a home.
When you have a specific house in mind, think about potential developments. For example: If the home is near a busy road, will there be expansion in the near future? If there is a lot of open space around the home, will more homes be built in the area soon? If there are several homes for sale in the neighborhood, are they selling quickly and who’s moving in? It may be difficult to find concrete information about future developments, but keeping some what-ifs in mind as you look can help you find your ideal home. Also, keep in mind the potential resale value of your future home because no one knows what the future holds and you may need to sell earlier than you imagined. Learn about some of the best and worst projects to improve resale value.
If you’re serious about buying a home and not just trolling the market, be sure to get pre-approved by your bank or credit union BEFORE you start viewing homes. Also, be sure to obtain pre-approval instead of just pre-qualification, which is simply a preliminary letter from your bank without the official credit check, etc. With pre-approval, you will really feel ready to make an offer when a home feels right, and if there’s heavy competition. You’ll also know exactly what you can afford, which is really the most important thing. Find out the biggest regrets of 13 different first-time homebuyers.
Ignoring old paint
Despite the fact that sellers are required to fill out a lead-pair disclosure form in most states, if the home you’re considering was built before 1978, you should seriously consider its potential for lead-based paint. On one of your showings, take a lead-paint test kit with you to swab a few areas that seem suspicious (flaking, zebra-like chips). You can buy tests for a few bucks at your local health department. If you have time and the ability, also test the water to ensure the tap water doesn’t contain lead as well.
Skipping the final walk-through
Most purchase agreements allow for a final walk-through of the property to ensure that the house is still in good condition. This might not seem necessary, but if you’re purchasing a foreclosed property or displacing disgruntled renters, you may need to ensure that no last-minute damage was done (think writing on walls, stolen appliances, etc.). Find out how to get the most out of a home inspection.
The commute is too long
At a certain point, a commute becomes a burden. If your commute is taking valuable time away from your family or personal goals, look for a home closer to your work. It may be worth it to downsize to a smaller home instead of losing too many hours out of every workday.
Home inspectors can find a lot of things wrong with a house but they can’t catch everything all the time. Most home inspectors won’t climb on a roof to inspect so it’s important to have things they won’t always check thoroughly viewed by an expert.
Home inspectors typically don’t inspect underground pipes, septic tanks or wells, all of which are particularly expensive to repair or replace. You can protect yourself by finding a home inspector who carries “Errors and Omissions” coverage. Here are some more vital home improvement tasks you never want to overlook.
Homes built in the mid-’60s or ’70s might have aluminum wiring and if so it should be determined if everything has been retrofitted properly. If it hasn’t, it could be a fire hazard and wiring replacement can run thousands of dollars.
Not saving enough
A NerdWallet survey of 2,200 home buyers and mortgage applicants found that the biggest regret for millennial buyers was they wished they’d save more money before buying a house. More than 10 percent of respondents no longer felt financially secure after they bought their home.
Not doing enough research
Nearly half of the respondents in a NerdWallet survey said they’d do something different if they could. Near the top of the list of things they’d do better the second time was doing more research. A total of 41 percent of people who applied for a mortgage felt they weren’t aware of all of their loan options. Tied into that is many first-time homebuyers aren’t aware of all of the costs associated with buying a house, especially the closing costs. Learn 10 things you should know about buying a home.
Wrong size home
Nearly 20 percent of millennial buyers and 20 percent of Generation X buyers said they regretted they didn’t buy a bigger house in the NerdWallet survey. Read on for more common mistakes people make when buying their first home.