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New homebuyer's advice section added to FindSpot
Avoid common pitfalls by getting advice before you buy your house
What They Say
"Home is not where you live, but where they understand you""
by: Christian Morganstern
"There is a magic in that little world, home; it is a mystic circle that surrounds comforts and virtues never known beyond its hallowed limits"
by: Robert Southey
Latest News: New homebuyer's advice section added to FindSpot
Top 8 House Buying Mistakes to Avoid
From the FindSpot advice team
Buying a house is the single most expensive financial transaction most people will make in their entire lives, and you would be surprised how many of us just rush straight in to it.
Here are the top 7 mistakes FindSpot has compiled to help warn our readers of some of the pitfalls and how to avoid them.
1. Not seeing enough houses. Remember when your mother used to say 'Don't buy the first thing you see'? Be sure to visit a wide range of houses in the area, and compare them to a list of your needs and wants and make sure the house really fits your requirements. Have a look at the neighborhood and the local community before you buy, which should mean using information found online but could also include visiting at different times of the day and week to learn about noise and traffic patterns.
2. Overspending. Ignore what your bank says about your 'Maximum' borrowing ability for a moment. You may qualify to borrow more, but can you really afford to? Look at your monthly costs including any debt, food, transport and fuel, entertainment, and savings. Your total monthly debts - including the new mortgage you are about to get - should not exceed a third percent of your income before taxes. Be sure to budget enough to cover closing costs (often two to five percent of the home's purchase price), plus moving, redecorating and maintenance. Allow for increases in ongoing expenses such as utilities and taxes. And then take a deep breath and check your sums.
3. Don't rely on the Realtor. Realtors make their money selling houses, and how ever friendly they may seem remember you are their business. No matter how much you like the agent or the sellers, remember this is a business transaction. Your decision is binding and again this is the single most expensive financial transaction most people will make in their entire lives. Do your own research.
4. Not getting a Mortgage pre-approved. Being pre-approved means a lender (usually a bank) has verified your vital information and your credit rating and agreed to provide you with a specific amount of money. That puts you in a much better position to go house hunting because you know exactly how much you can afford. Just keep in mind our advice about not overspending.
5. Don't relying on oral agreements. If it's not written down, it's not binding. If we had a dollar for every time someone told us 'The seller promised this would be done after we signed' or 'The realtor said they would fix those problems after we settled', then we could afford to pay your mortgage off for you – and knowing the friendly team at FindSpot that's what we'd probably do. Written agreements always trump oral ones when it comes to contracts. Get it in writing.
6. Don't bet on higher resale values. Markets can change, and we've seen prices go down as well as up. If you buy a intending to flip your investment and the market falls and you have to sell, your selling price may not be enough to even cover your mortgage.
7. Don't buy the most expensive house on a block. You should avoid buying the most expensive house on a street, or purchasing a home that costs 50 percent more than neighboring homes. It is a simple fact that your neighbors' lower home values will weaken yours and you may not be able to sell for the same value in future.
8. Don't make an 'unconditional' offer. An unconditional offer means you are bound to proceed regardless of any other factors and events. You should protect yourself with at least two of these contingencies in your offer:
 Mortgage financing -- You may be pre-approved, but is the house? Before a bank will lend you money, it will want a formal appraisal of the property to confirm that there is sufficient equity in it to warrant the loan. The loan may be declined if the house appraises lower than the sales price.
 Inspection -- Don't buy a new or existing home without a thorough home inspection. Be sure to walk through the home with the inspectors to learn more about the house and any concerns he or she may have.
 Insurance -- Before you buy the house, confirm you can get adequate insurance coverage. With flood and disasters on the rise it can be difficult to get insurance in some areas.