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What are some surprises that first-time buyers encounter when purchasing a home?

Asked by Trulia, San Francisco, CA Thu Mar 1, 2012

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Unexpected situations can be minimized if you start the process with a realistic attitude.
- For starters, be realistic in regard to how much house can you afford and what type and condition. As a first time home buyer we many times have an image of what our dream home should be, but that may or may not be a realistic purchase at this point in your life or situation. Getting prequalified or preapproved (it depends on each lender practices) is the first step. And talking with a financial advisor can also help.
- Also keep in mind what are your own personal resources and expertise. For example, often times we tend to underestimate our likes or capabilities and end up buying a fixer-upper that could get us a bigger house. But if you are not up to the job of taking care of whatever details need attention you will be spending more money that is not at hand. Not to mention the disappointment of having a property that is depressing due to all it needs to be done and you are unable to do.
- Location, location, location. That too is a big factor for anybody buying a home. Home prices also vary due to the geographical place where they are. Is that a convenient location for you and your family, job, etc? Location also determines access to certain schools and neighborhood.
- Lastly, maintain great communication with all the parties involved in the decision making process, you, your significant other, etc. Compromise may be needed if more than one person is involved. Buy you knew that already. Right?
And of course, keep in high regards all the other comments/suggestions mentioned below by my colleagues Kevin Vitali, at al.
Congratulations for your decision to buy your home and good luck.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 1, 2012
While their are many mistakes to be made by first time home buyers, a couple of the bigger mistakes are:

1- Not getting a good pre-approval up front, before ever looking at homes. There are many issues that can arise that can be flushed out with a good pre-approval.

2- Not understanding agency relationship. Understanding how an agent is working with you is vitally important. This also means taking the time to find a good buyer's agent.

3- Finding an exceptional home inspector. This is the last line of defense in making the most of your purchase. Don't price shop find the best inspector you can.

Don't be anxious, take the time and get educated and understand the process. Good professionals to help you are the key. Interview, get references and find a good agent, mortgage banker and home inspector.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 1, 2012
Some of the surprises fist time buyers face:
* How complicated the buying process can be.
* closing costs.
* Inspection surprises
* Incompetent professionals surrounding the process: agents, mortgage brokers, lawyers, etc.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 1, 2012
The home inspection. A thorough home inspection will inevitably uncover various problems and sometimes the problems are major. You want an inspector who is diligent, experienced and knowledgeable and yet one who will explain things clearly without creating undue stress. Though the euphoria is often dimished after the inspection a clear understanding of the home's true condition gives peace of mind whether you choose to move forward or walk away. A clear narrative report with photos will also be of great value to you in the decision making process. Good Luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 1, 2012
Get a home inspection done so you know what shape the property is in and what may need to be taken care of as soon as you move in.
On the mortgage side there should be no suprises as closing costs are basically fixed at application. Make sure to follow up immediately with any request for paperwork by your lender or broker.
With enough planning you can amost float through the process with little or no stress.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 1, 2012
Most important: Hire the right type of agent. The biggest mistake a first time home buyer can make is not educating themselves on who works for who during the transaction. Educate yourself and then find yourself an EXCLUSIVE buyer's agent and keep your interests protected. Here are some good reads on the topic:



Learn about benefits for first time home-buyer's, like tax benefits outlined here:

The biggest nominal surprise to home buyer's are closing costs. Here is an outline of what to expect:

Get pre approved before you start your search. The worst experience is finding a place you love and finding out you can't afford it.

Brought to you by Territory.com, Massachusetts Premier Destination for Home Buyer's
Web Reference: http://territory.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 30, 2012
The biggest issue by far is on the financing end of the buying process. It is very important that the buyer disclose all income, payments, other properties owned, etc before looking at any homes with an agent. Many deals go bad in the final hours because of an overlooked finance issue.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 28, 2012
There are lots of decisions and steps to take buying your first home. They dont need to be surprises if you find a good Realtor, lender and real estate attorney. Your Realtor can help. Get a good team on your side working for you. here is 1 article from my blog, I hope its helpful-
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 1, 2012
There can be many "surprises" for first time home buyers. I recommend using a buyer agent to limit risk. Typically "surprises" can come at the home inspection (structural problems) and also closing costs which can be 1-3% of sales price. Please contact me if you need my assistance.


0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 1, 2012
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