Duke Warner Realty

Common Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make

If you own your home, you know that buying a home can be a lot of work. There are many facets to the process: hunting, approvals, gathering paperwork, and the anxiety of finding the right home. It can be overwhelming and frustrating at times, but if you find a great broker to help guide you through some of the challenges, you’ll be in good hands. We collected some tips to make it easier, and help you learn what not to do while shopping for your first home!


It is very important that you do your research on the neighborhood where your home will be. If you find a house you love, consider the community and make sure it’s a neighborhood you are comfortable with. You may want to consider the school district it’s in, and what school your kids would go to. You’ll want to know if it’s a safe neighborhood, for example, what is the crime rate. Is it a place where you’d feel comfortable letting your kids roam the neighborhood during the day or night? Check to see if it’s near a noisy highway or train tracks. A great way to learn about the neighborhood is to talk to potential neighbors and ask direct questions.

Listen to your head

When you fall in love with a home, you may feel ready to make an offer right away. However, be sure to take caution and think through some of the details. When you look things over with a more critical approach, you often notice details that you missed at first glance. Be sure to apply your list of needs, wishes and wants to this property. It might not meet the standards you’ve set for yourself, like being close to town, 3 bedrooms, etc.

Pre-Approval is key

We hear it all the time: getting pre-approved is crucial to house hunting. There is no reason to hunt for properties that you’re not sure you can afford. Who wants to make an offer on a property only to find out your loan is denied? The best way to get ahead is to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start house hunting. That way you know what the bank will loan you and what you can afford. This will stop you from looking at houses that are out of your budget and getting your hopes up.

3 Common Costly Mistakes New Homeowners Make


If you’ve only ever rented before, the cost of paying for full utilities might come as a shock to you. Water and sewer typically are included in rent, but as a homeowner, you’re on the hook for everything. If your washing machine breaks down, you can’t call a landlord to come and fix it. You’re responsible for the repairs and the bill. If your roof leaks in the winter, it’s up to you to get it fixed and shovel the roof. These are all typical growing pains that come with owning a house. The obvious benefit of owning over renting is that you’re putting equity in something, and depending on your market, you could stand to earn more in the value of your home as time goes on. It’s important to note that most mortgages are less expensive than monthly rents, so the extra money can go to cover unforeseen expenses. It can also go toward a future remodel or renovation.

Tearing Out Walls to Make the Room Bigger 

Before tearing out a wall completely, you need to figure out if it is a load-bearing wall. Load-bearing walls help support the structural weight of floors and the trusses for the roof of the house. If you tear out a load-bearing wall, this structural weight has to be transferred to some other support structure or you will end up seriously damaging your home. 

Changing Finished Grades to Add Landscape Elements 

Finished grades on the property are designed to redirect rainwater away from the house and into nearby storm drains or creeks. Unfortunately, homeowners may change the finished grade by adding driveways, patios, in-ground pools, sidewalks and other landscape elements that impact the grade. If water is redirected back toward the house, it can cause the foundation to shift and heave as structural damage can occur. 

Avoid Costly Mistakes!

There are a lot of things to consider when buying a home for the first time. Making sure you have an experienced broker to walk you through the process, and answer any questions you have, can be crucial. Find someone you trust, both to find you the perfect home, and to help you close the deal. Consider our brokers at Duke Warner Realty to help you find your dream home.


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