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5 Biggest Mistakes Home Buyers Make

Some home buyers fall for common pitfalls when purchasing a home. How can you help make sure you don’t fall for one?

Credit.com recently featured some of the biggest mistakes home buyers often make. Their list included:

1. Trying to fix credit scores before buying a home.

Home buyers may do more harm than good if they don’t consult a financial expert first. “Even paying down credit card balances, which is a good thing as far as your credit scores and debt ratios are concerned, could be a problem if it leaves you short the cash you need to qualify to get the loan,” says Gerri Detweiler, Credit.com’s personal finance expert.

2. Not considering the future enough in their purchase.

Buyers should consider what they want out of a house not just for today but also five or 10 years down the road. Do they plan to expand their family? If so, they may need a bigger home and want a different location. Also, how long do they plan on staying at the home? That can help determine the type of mortgage that makes the most sense for them too.

3. Failing to research financing enough.

First comes the home and then the financing? Not in today’s market. Home shoppers should get prequalified for a mortgage before they start shopping for a home so they know what they can afford. “The time to make decisions about your mortgage needs is not during this 10-day window [after you sign a contract]; at most, this is time to shop for rates and fees and such,” says Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com.

4. Making the assumption that the Good Faith Estimate is always what you pay at closing.

The form lenders provide that estimates closing costs is not set in stone. Closing costs may actually be more, so buyers need to be prepared. Closing costs generally are about 3 percent to 5 percent of the loan amount. “Shop around and compare the Good Faith Estimate provided by the lender with that of two or three other lenders,” suggests Ryan Himmel, a CPA and founder of BIDaWIZ, a tax advice resource.

5. Failing to budget for home expenses.

Budgeting to purchase the home isn’t all new home owners should be squeezing in their budget. They’d be wise to not forget to budget for maintaining the home too. New home owners should budget for an increase in utility bills as well as for future maintenance and repair costs, such as repairing a furnace or roof.

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