There are a lot of candidates for this winner - after all, there are some serious goofs home buyers can make, especially first-timers.
But the top is underestimating both the costs of homeownership and that of your current and future lifestyle.
Here's one that I liked from Homehub.com. The other four include; don't lose your deposit; don't underestimate the risk of buying a foreclosure or short sale; and don't low ball on a home you really want.
Don't underestimate the hidden costs of homeownership: This means property taxes, home owners insurance, different HOA fees. All things you might not be paying if you are renting instead of buying.
However, even this is too narrow. You should look globally at all your expenses, now and in the future, especially over the next five years, in order to figure how much home you can buy, or frankly, whether you are ready to buy at all right now.
One common mistake - two-income couples with plans to start a family who don't realistically consider the cost of full-time, or even part-time day care.
Once you have a couple kids, your child care bill could easily top $2,000 a month - or another mortgage payment.
And if you went out and bought a $600,000 house instead of a $300,000 or $400,000 house, you could easily wind up with some severe cash flow issues.
Also, consider your lifestyle as well. If you enjoy having disposable income to travel or pursue other interests, you may have to scale back your plans to ensure you have a rainy day fund ready to go.
After all, if the roof starts leaking or the furnace croaks, you can't call the landlord. It's now you, after all!
Finally, make sure you have a good handle on any other debt you may be carrying. Maybe you have room to add a mortgage alongside that student loan, but will the monthly bill to your local day care then croak you?
Better to ask those questions now than to find yourself in a financial bind a few years after you bought your home.
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