Disclaimer: The below is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.
When you find your “dream house” you might feel a flush in your face and an inability to do anything except look at those beautiful photos on property search web sites. If that sounds like you, then you likely have house fever. While there is nothing wrong with excitement about your potential new home, house fever often comes with the side effect of rushing through your purchase and potentially overlooking routine steps along the way.
In that case, your dream home can turn turn into a nightmare after you move in. Knowing what to consider before closing the deal is crucial in seeing your dream materialize as you planned.
These are some of the worst mistakes people realize they made after moving in to a new home:
Skipping an inspection
Before closing on a house, homebuyers are responsible for getting a professional inspection.
Those who skip an inspection can find themselves facing issues so major that they would have been deal breakers had they been known. But unfortunately, after closing without an inspection, those problems become all yours.
“How bad can it be?” you might ask.
Problem homes often don’t show their issues on the outside. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. In fact, some of the worst home issues you can imagine aren’t even exposed for your eye to see, including:
Chinese dry wall: It looks like normal dry wall but it causes health issues and metal corrosion.
Asbestos: This is a highly toxic mineral built into the fabric of many homes. Many homes and apartments built before 1980 “often are filled with asbestos.”
Lead paint: Another hazardous material found in homes. If the house was built before 1978, “there is a good chance it has lead-based paint.”
Only a professional inspection will ensure you don’t face health and financial issues later.
Forgetting to add up the costs
The price you pay isn’t just the price tag of the house.
There’s maintenance and utility costs, insurance and property taxes. All these added costs effect your monthly payments.
Many new homebuyers forget to factor these costs in, then are surprised they’re paying a lot more than they expected – or they realize they can’t make the payments at all.
Don’t forget there’s the closing cost of the home, too. And if you put down less than 20%, you’re looking at another fun cost called private mortgage insurance, or PMI.
Not learning about what’s around
Imagine this: It’s a Saturday and you just moved into a new home. All your furniture is in place. You finally feel settled. Then Monday comes along and you wake up in your new room to the sounds of rambunctious kids going to school. Then you hear them again when it’s recess…and then at lunch. And then of course 3 o’clock comes along and outside gets real noisy.
Excited homebuyers may forget to consider what kinds of institutions, like schools, hospitals and police stations in the surrounding area may affect noise levels – or overall peacefulness. Think also of future development plans and traffic noise from highways.
Not researching the neighbors
Would you choose to move in next to a sex offender? No, of course not.
A house does not live inside its own bubble. Sometimes a home can only be so nice to live in as how you feel about who lives near you. Factoring in the kind of neighborhood and its neighbors in your home-buying search just may save you from this uncomfortable situation.
A reverse address lookup is a great first step for learning about neighbors and sex offenders closest to your potential new address.
Acting too soon
Either by excitement, social pressure, or thinking you came across a great find, many homebuyers jump into a mortgage without a second thought. These factors can be compounded in a “hot market” where homes don’t stay on the market very long.
For the reasons listed above and others, many homebuyers will tell you that they bought too soon, caught “house fever,” overpaid due to impatience or took out too big of a mortgage and now struggle each month to make their monthly payments. Buying a house is a major financial decision and you should anticipate the fact that life can change.
Take your time and wait out your house fever until you know you aren’t making any of the above mistakes.