Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions a person can make, and it's not one to be taken lightly. It's a hugely expensive endeavor, and it's pretty darn confusing to boot. It's far too easy to overlook something or make a mistake when you're consumed by the process, but those little mistakes in the beginning can end up making a huge difference later on. A good realtor can help make this process a lot easier, but even the best realtors can't fix every mistake.
In an effort to educate the public, a bunch of realtors came to Reddit to talk about some common mistakes they see people make when buying a home. They offered a lot of really solid advice, shining a light on some key issues and offering solutions for prospective home owners. Don't panic, because these quick suggestions definitely will help you avoid a home-buying catastrophy.
From a former Redditor:
Don't borrow more than you can afford. Just don't.
Google "mortgage calculator". Plan to spend no more than half of your net monthly income (after taxes, and after retirement contributions). Work backward from that number to figure out how much you can borrow. That number is your ceiling, not your floor.
Start looking around at 15-20% below your target price. Get used to what that looks like. Then when you find something closer to your target, you'll know what a good deal looks like.
Put in an offer at 15% below asking. This is a negotiation. Don't open with a sticker offer.
If you lose out to a higher bidder, fine. Take your time. There will be another house. Don't get emotionally invested.
Proper inspection, from someone you trust or is highly rated. They must be licensed. Get your money's worth.
Know what your deal breakers are before you get into a room with any seller. Write them down. Stick to them. If you said you'd walk, walk.
From Redditor /u/GemJack:
Title insurance is worth it. You only buy it once no matter how many times you refinance.
From Redditor /u/TTUgirl:
Know what the characteristics of a style of house is. Don't expect an old Victorian to have massive walk-in closets and an open concept unless it has been completely gutted and remodeled. Also research possible problems for the years of older homes you're looking at like type of wiring used, asbestos usage, plumbing types used etc.
From Redditor /u/dustofdeath:
You can buy very cheap mold detection kits - if they refuse you to check with it, then they are likely hiding something.
Also look for geological maps/surveys of the area for risks of floods (down hill, region where flood waters might build up). Look for potential sinkhole risks (both under house and nearby).