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Installment 7: Home Buying Facts & Fiction

In preparation for this piece, I have interviewed a real estate associate, who has been in the industry for 10 plus years, and a first-time home buyer, 1 year after her purchase. Think of the questions you would want to ask your future self 1 year after you bought your home. Would you be screaming at your past self to not make the same mistakes you did? Were there regrets? Lessons learned? Warnings unheeded? Or would it be a picture-perfect scene of the decisions you made right for your situation? Well let’s talk to someone who’s already been through it, and another who has guided and helped numerous first time home buyers.

I’d like to first provide you with the expert advice from our resident real estate associate. Here are the questions and answers from our conversation.


What is the most common mistake you see from first time home buyers?

REA: The one mistake regarding 1st time home buyers is they don’t give themselves time to see what their bills are like before they start shopping for their home. I caution my buyers to give themselves at least a year after purchasing their home, so they can get an idea of the cost to live in their new home. They don’t realize there are more expenses, such as utilities. They’re higher than in an apartment. Especially electric, water, HOA fees, homeowner’s insurance and maintenance. (In addition) they purchase a home using both incomes, if it’s a couple.

WCDTU: What is the question you get asked the most from home buyers?

REA: “Can I get everything I want in my price range and area of choice?”

WCDTU: Percentage wise, how much of the list price should one save for buying a home? Down payment? Closing costs? Etc.

REA: That’s hard to say. At least 20% of the purchase, if you’re planning on only putting less than 5% down payment. The rest can be used for closing costs, moving expenses, repairs and maintenance. Also, it’s good to have at least 2 months of mortgage payments saved.