Buying a home is an exciting venture, but it also comes with risk and expense. Often times, new homeowners underestimate the extra cost of maintenance and repairs, along with the labor required to keep a home in prime condition.
Next is a list of some common expectations first-time homebuyers have, and why you might never want to own a home yourself.
Expectation: Your Costs Will Always Be Lower Than Renting
One age-old question that seems to always spark debate is whether you should rent or buy. Depending on the housing market you’re living in, this answer can vary greatly.
Many new homebuyers, however, get caught up in the idea that a mortgage payment is like a rental payment — static. And sometimes they don’t factor in maintenance costs or other expenses that can eat into their monthly budget.
Reality: Maintenance and Repairs Can Cause Monthly Costs to Spike
“The buyer should never stretch themselves so thin that the maintenance costs are more than they can handle,” said Emily Restifo, a New Canaan, Conn.-based realtor with Houlihan Lawrence. “Better to buy a more modest property and maintain it to the highest standard.”
Keeping up a house to a high standard is a long-term investment. “At every price range, when it comes time to sell, it is the well-maintained property that sells first,” Restifo said. “Ultimately, the repairs will have to be done at some point, anyway.”
Homeowners always end up paying for maintenance, Restifo said. Sometimes it’s while they’re living there and enjoying the home, and sometimes it’s through a lower sale price and costly repairs when it’s time to sell.
Expectation: You’ll Save Money If You Use the Listing Agent
“Many buyers have come to me and said ‘I will get a better deal if I use the listing agent,’ and this is 100 percent false,” said David Feldberg, Newport Beach, Calif.-based broker-owner of Coastal Real Estate Group. According to Feldberg, it is legal in California for an agent to represent both sides — buyer and seller — of a transaction. However, “double-ending,” as it is commonly called — this real estate myth often leads to lawsuits.
Reality: The Seller’s Agent Will Not Necessarily Be Your Advocate
When buying a house, you should have your own representation. Using the seller’s agent is not recommended.
“A buyer’s agent should be trying to get the best deal for their client, and the seller’s agent the highest price for their client,” Feldberg said. “It’s near impossible to accomplish both.”
Avoid the temptation to cut corners in an attempt to save money. Remember, when buying a home, keep your eyes wide open so you don’t fall for tricks that could cost you in the long run.