No matter the age or life stage, many buyers make mistakes when it comes to home buying. Whether it’s picking the wrong location or buying more house than they can afford, the mistakes are common.
Every age group is susceptible to particular missteps. Here are common mistakes homeowners make at each age, and a few ways to avoid them.
1st Time Home / Millennial Buyers
People in their 20s (and sometime 30’s) are just starting their careers and usually have less money saved than older home buyers and paying less for a mortgage is just a priority.
Many of these choose an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) thinking they will earn more money later. If that doesn’t happen, and interest rates go up in five to seven years, they’re going to see mortgage rates rise substantially.
1st Time Buyer Programs
Along with popular programs like FHA loans and VA loans, there are other lesser-known initiatives geared to home buyers on a fixed income. The HUD-sponsored Good Neighbor Next Door program, offers home buying assistance for law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians & pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers. Along with federal money, there are also state-sponsored grants for first-time home buyers (CalHAFA).
Another mistake younger home buyers in their 30s make: is not considering a future family; while buying the “singles crib” is alluring, it costs $$ later. If you plan on having a family, it’s important to consider that when you’re home shopping, even if you’re currently single.
These are questions younger buyers should ask before buying a home:
– Do I want to get married? Raise a family or travel?
– Where do I imagine living? – How do I imagine living?
Those answers should be an integral part of what you look for in a home. For example, if you think you might want kids or even a dog, you’ll probably want to choose a home with a backyard, or in a in a good-quality school district versus one near a great nightlife.
40’s – 50’s: Overestimating Their Budget
Buyers in their 40’s and 50’s tend to have more money, which may lead to overestimating their budget. These home buyers can make the mistake of spending at their limit, which leads them to making hard choices and sacrifices later, that they weren’t prepared to make. Just because buyers can afford a $500K home doesn’t mean they should buy one. One way to avoid this is to figure out a lifestyle comfort level and deciding what the future is going into the senior years.
For example: Do they keep the country club membership or do they cancel and travel around in a motor home?
Figuring out your budget is a critical step for buyers of all ages. Even experienced homebuyers can make the mistake of spending at their limit, which can mean making sacrifices that they weren’t prepared to make. The take-away for buyers in their 40s and 50s is to leave room in the budget for things they aren’t willing to give up — for example, private school for the kids.
60’s and Up: Falling in Love with a Vacation Home
Many homeowners in their 60s are retired or getting ready to retire; but relocating and buying a home is an expensive process, so retirees should be sure they familiarize themselves with a new place before buying. While some choose to stay where they are, many plan on moving to warmer climates or even another country.
A costly mistake retirees make is going on vacation, falling in love with a place and moving immediately. Too many retirees make the mistake of going on vacation, and they think, ‘Oh my god, this is great”, they go home immediately, & sell their home.
“They get there, & they hate it!!!!!! But only after they sold their home, paid capital gains & incur expenses they can ill afford to pay in their senior years.
Before buying a new house in your vacation paradise, be sure to visit the area in every climate. For example, Florida is great in the winter, but many people might not be comfortable in the humid summer months (It’s a dry heat in Coachella Valley!). The same goes for northern areas — what’s blissful in one season can be awful in another.