Buying a home comes with a lot of expectations vs. reality. We expect a lot of different things to happen, but the whole process can be entirely the opposite of what we thought. This is the case for first-time home buyers up and down the country, and throughout the world. There are so many things that no one ever tells you about buying a home, so it shocks you when you do find them out.
The purpose of today’s article is to re-align your expectations with what may actually happen. Hopefully, this stops you from being shocked as you’ll actually see some of the things that no one ever mentions. Settle in, get something to drink, and check out all the unexpected things that happen when you buy your first home:
People with mortgages may need to pay more
It’s standard procedure to apply for a mortgage loan when buying a house. In fact, the majority of people will go down this route when getting their first home. Unless you’ve been saving since birth, have come into a small fortune, or have been given money by your family, then a loan is the way to go. Most sellers are aware of this, and they would rather sell their house to someone with the cash ready to go. As such, people with a mortgage may need to pay more than people without one. So, don’t be surprised if you bid on a home, then someone bids less, but their bid is accepted. This is purely because the seller may want the money as quickly as possible and doesn’t want to deal with you having to get approved for your loan, accessing the money, and so on. If you ever enter a bidding war like this, then you should be prepared to outbid the competition by a reasonable amount to make it worth the sellers while to wait longer for your money.
There’s still a long way to go after a successful bid
Most people assume that, once you’ve had a bid accepted, then you’re in the clear. The search is over, and you’ll soon have the first home of your life. What no one tells you is that there is still a very long way to go after this. For starters, someone can come in with a higher bid the next day, and the seller has the right to accept it if they wish. Then, you have loads of legal proceedings to go through before you reach a stage where you’re going to be the owner of this house. There’s the sales and purchase agreement, which pretty much outlines all aspects of the sale and is used to ensure the buyer and seller are both protected. Then, contracts have to be drawn up to close the sale, and you may have to send them back and forth between both parties until you’re both on the same page and happy to proceed. Only after the contracts are signed and exchanged will you be in a position to start getting ready to move in. At any point before this, the seller can back out without incurring any ramifications at all. So, don’t assume your bid being accepted means you’ll be the owner of a new house anytime soon!
You have a lot of additional costs
Unless you go out and do the research, you’ll have no idea how many extra costs there are when buying your first home. Obviously, you know the ones revolving around the house itself. I’m talking about the cost of the home, and the cost of decorating it, making any fixes, and getting it ready to live in. However, there are other costs on top of this as well. Whenever you buy a home, you’ll have to hire at least two other people to help you during the process. One of these is a surveyor who will look at the home and give you a full assessment of it. They will identify any issues with the house and make a note as to whether or not you will need to make repairs/how bad the problems are. This helps you avoid scenarios where you unwittingly buy a house that’s structurally unsafe and full of problems that cost a fortune to fix. From this, you can negotiate a price that takes extra costs into account. But, you also have to hire a solicitor to deal with the legal proceedings as you move to purchase the home. Despite the fact they don’t do a great deal of work, they will usually charge a substantial fee. If you’re looking to buy a home, bear these costs in mind!
It’s rare that you won’t have to pay for improvements
In general, the only way you’ll buy a home that doesn’t require improvements is if you buy a brand new one. Most houses need little fixes here and there, which is why you need to factor them into your budget. What’s more, no one ever tells you that a house can need loads of improvements even if you didn’t expect them. For example, let’s say your surveyor checks the home on a beautiful dry day. To their naked eye, there are no issues with leaks or any problems like that. So, you buy the house, and then winter comes along with loads of wet weather. Suddenly, you see leaks forming in the roof and damp on the walls. This exact thing happened to my mom when she bought a home once. Certain things don’t come up in the survey because of weather conditions, or they might just not be present on that particular day. So, you buy a house thinking you’ll have minimal things to do, then over a year later, you’re still paying to get for improvements!
Finding a house can take years
We know that finding a home can take a long time. However, no one mentions that it can literally take years until you find the ideal house. One of my friends started looking for a new house two years ago, and they still haven’t found one. This is because you may have certain requirements that are hard to meet. If you need to live in a specific area, there will be a finite amount of homes in your budget with the number of rooms and features you need. It all depends on the market conditions as well; when house prices are up, it can take years before they drop to a point where homes become more affordable for you. Then, when they’re down, people are reluctant to sell, so there aren’t many homes on offer! It’s tough to find the perfect conditions where you can buy a house without overpaying for it. Just be aware that your search can take well over two years if you’re unlucky.
Never trust a realtor
Realtors – or real estate agents – are usually the people who show you around a home and manage the sale of it. Sellers go to them to advertise their property and get it sold as quickly as possible, for the best price possible. Now, they get paid based on commission, which means they take a percentage of the sale. In essence, they’re always on the side of the seller. So, don’t trust anything they say as they’re only in it to make money. It’s their job, so they’ll undoubtedly try and make a house sound nicer than it is. My advice is to blank out most of what they’re saying and just use them when you have any questions. Focus on your gut feeling and don’t give into realtor pressure!
If you know what no one is telling you, then you can improve your home buying preparations. Hopefully, it’ll be a bit less stressful, and there will be no surprises.