Buying a home is a major step! And, for first time home buyers, it can seem like a daunting task. There is plenty advice out there about what steps to take, the process, financing, and more….but unfortunately there are also a lot of misconceptions and misinformation. It is important to know all the facts before setting off on your journey to find your dream home. Here are 9 myths about home buying that we are happy to debunk for you!!
Myth 1: Looking for a House is Your First Step.
The initial search for the home is undoubtedly the fun part of the process. You know your list of desirables and you have the internet at your fingertips to help you find your dream home. BUT, there is a lot of information that you need know ahead of time before potentially getting your heart set on a home. Your first step should be to make sure that your credit is in top form AND get pre-approval for a mortgage. These steps will help you determine your budget and allow you to search for houses that are in an appropriate price range. Plus, pre-approval for a mortgage will help you during the process as it makes you more attractive to sellers.
Myth 2: Your Best Finance Option is a 30-Year Mortgage.
Many home buyers think that by selecting a 30-year mortgage they will automatically save money since they have a longer period of time to pay off the loan. Although monthly payments on a 30-year are lower than a 15-year mortgage, you will end up paying MORE in the end since you are borrowing the same amount of money for both BUT are borrowing for twice as long and at a higher interest rate with the 30-year option. Look into all loan options out there before making a decision. A 30-year fixed mortgage might be the best option for you or there might be another loan that makes more sense. Stay open and do plenty of research ahead of time to make an informed decision. Check out our helpful Finance Information for this step of the process.
Myth 3: Your Down Payment has to be 20%.
Although a 20% down payment allows you to avoid paying for Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), it is not always the required amount from lenders. If you are willing to pay the monthly bill for PMI, you may be eligible for loans with a 5% or 10% down payment. Otherwise, there are also FHA loans and other down payment assistance options that you may qualify for.
Myth 4: The Down Payment is your Only Cost Upfront.
The down payment on the home will never be the only cost you have to pay up front. There are always added costs for credit reports, inspections, insurance, and more that home buyers need to account for. Additionally, the negotiated deal for the house could include you being responsible for the closing costs.
Myth 5: You are out of Luck if you have Bad Credit.
Having good to excellent credit definitely helps when it comes to buying a home. But, even if your credit is not great, you can still be eligible for some financing options. FHA loans can offer low down payments to buyers with bad credit. Be sure to do plenty of research ahead of time though regarding your loan options. Something that might look great at first, might not be great in the long run.
Myth 6: Home Inspections Aren’t Necessary.
A home inspection is ALWAYS a crucial step in the home buying process. Even if you are worried that you might lose out on the house to a buyer that waives the inspection, it is worth the risk. There is far more risk in buying the home as is without knowing any hidden issues with it. You will save a ton of money and time buy spending the money upfront to inspect the home.
Myth 7: You Must Offer the Asking Price.
You found your dream house and you don’t want to risk losing it…..so you have to offer the full asking price, right? Although there can be competition when putting an offer on a house, you do not need to offer the asking price. Sellers will often be willing to negotiate with buyers who have awesome credit, a pre-approved loan, and a ready down payment in order to ensure that the house gets sold as soon as possible. You also do not need to offer the full asking price if the home inspection you got exposed some issues with the house. You can negotiate a price based on what the inspection found.
Myth 8: You Don’t Need a Realtor.
It is important to work with an Experienced Realtor during your home buying process. Although the internet might make it appear like it is easy to buy a home on your own, there is a lot of valuable information that realtors know that can assist you. We understand the market, know exactly what to look for, have experience negotiating, and so much more. The experience will seem a lot less stressful having someone knowledgeable on your side along the way!
Myth 9: Choose A Home Based On Your Current Lifestyle Only.
It is important to recognize what you need in a home immediately as well as in the future. Whether you are planning on having children someday or not, buying a home in a neighborhood with good schools should be on your list of must haves. Research has shown that homes in such neighborhoods have higher resale value, so if you ever consider selling in the future you are setting yourself up for success. Also, consider other lifestyle needs that you might develop over time. If you plan on being in your home for the long haul, make sure that what you will want in 10, 20, or 30 years from now is available in the home and neighborhood that you selected.