The home buying process should be a fun and exciting time for you. We hope to show you how to avoid common pitfalls which will make the home buying process a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

The 10 Mistakes

1. Starting your home search without being pre-approved for a mortgage. Lots of us think we know how much of a home we can afford; meeting with a mortgage lender before you start your search will ensure you're looking at the right houses in the right price range. And, when competing offers are presented, often times it's the buyer with a pre-approval in hand who will win. Start the pre-approval process here

2. Choosing a real estate agent who is not committed to establishing and maintaining a business relationship with you. While there are thousands of agents to choose from, it's important to make sure the one you choose has the personality and business sense you will need as you search for a home. Are they familiar with the area you've chosen? Are they well versed in all aspects of the process - from negotiations through to the closing? We can refer you to a real estate agent in your area or consider asking friends or co-workers who they would recommend.

3. Limiting your search to the internet or cruising Open Houses. There's a great deal of evidence "out there" that too many of the listings you see in magazines or on the internet have already been sold or don't have accurate information about the home. Not only will your licensed real estate agent have the most up-to-date listings, but they also have information on each house that is not available to the general public.

4. Thinking there's only one perfect home out there for you. As you embark on your home finding mission, it's very easy to think that there's only one home out there for you - but that's not necessarily so! New homes come on the market every day so be open and don't jump on the first house you see!

5. Not making a list - or checking it twice. Before you start your search, make a list of all the things that are important to you in a new home - not just the square footage or number of bedrooms but school rankings, crime rates, environmental conditions and neighborhood atmosphere. Work with your agent to get the most amount of information you can about both the house and its surroundings!

6. Not considering your long-term housing needs. Sure, it's just you and Fido right now, but where will you be 3-5 years from now and will the home you've selected still meet your needs if you marry, have children or even get a friend for Fido?

7. Bypassing a home inspection. Sure, home inspections add a bit of cost to the acquisition of your new home but spending the money for an inspection today can save you thousands in repair costs down the road.

8. Not getting adequate homeowner's insurance prior to closing. You'll need to purchase home owner's insurance prior to getting to the closing table. A qualified insurance agent will be able to help you decide what level of insurance you'll need and answer any insurance questions you might have.

9. Not buying a home warranty plan. A home warranty plan is essentially a mini insurance plan that usually covers any basic repairs you may encounter during your first year of owning your new home. Your real estate agent can help you find the protection plan that is right for you.

10. Not knowing how much your purchase will cost. Remember, it's not just the purchase price that you need to look at. Early in your mortgage process, your lender will go over the additional costs you will need to cover - things like home owner's insurance, association fees, inspection fees, attorney fees and appraisal fees. You should expect to receive a Good Faith Estimate that will outline these costs. If you don't receive one, switch lenders. Visit our Mortgage Calculators page to determine various scenarios based on your own financial conditions.