“It’s a tough market right now for buyers. Purchasing your first home is supposed to be fun and exciting but for my family it was the total opposite. We were looking for six months, and it was so stressful!”
Buying a home will always have some stress, but with these tips you can avoid some common mistakes.
Mistake 1: Not getting pre-approved
“It’s so important to get pre-approved for your mortgage, before you start your search — especially in a competitive market,” Dhillon says.
Not only does a pre-approval save time between the open house and sale completion, it also helps you know how how much you can afford to spend.
“In a hot market people overextend themselves because they think that’s the only way you can get into the market. A good advisor will caution you to purchase within your means. There are lots of other expenses that come with home ownership — property taxes, house insurance, maintenance — so you need to budget responsibly.”
A mortgage pre-approval also locks in your rate — Envision offers a 120 day rate hold — which makes for better budgeting.
Mistake 2: Delaying a conversation about insurance
“Most people know that mortgage insurance and personal life insurance are recommended for home owners, but too many people put it off,” Dhillon says.
Members often sign the mortgage papers and say they’ll handle insurance later. Oftentimes, this will increase the chances that insurance is forgotten. Dhillon says most insurance companies offer a 30 day free trial, which gives you time to process the decision while ensuring your family is protected.
“You worked hard to get where you are. Why would you risk losing it? Take care of the insurance, and remove that financial stress.”
Mistake 3: Not knowing your mortgage terms
Don’t be shy — sit with your advisor until you understand your mortgage and know what you’re signing.
Mortgage documents will outline your mortgage amount, terms, amortization, rate, prepayment privileges and potential penalties.
“There are so many types of mortgages, and if you don’t understand your terms completely it can cost you thousands of dollars,” Dhillon says. “When homebuyers are so close to the finish line they just say ‘Where do I sign?’ But a good advisor should make you slow down and make sure you understand.”
Often Dhillon meets with homeowners at the other end of the process, when they’re already locked into a mortgage contract and looking for a way out. It’s a lot more challenging to avoid penalties after you’ve signed a contract, which means it’s important to understand documents before you sign.
Envision Financial is a division of First West Credit Union.