10 Rookie Home Buyer Mistakes to Avoid

Get the most from your purchase by sidestepping these costly pitfalls.

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9. Not researching your neighborhood

You may be living in your dream home, but your neighborhood's a nightmare. Or you may have children or are planning to have children in the near future, but you didn't consider the quality of the school districts or parks in the vicinity. You should ask yourself a number of questions during your home search, such as "Are there good schools nearby?" and "Do I feel safe coming home at night?"

Boss suggests that if schools are an important factor, you should go check them out personally. Speak with the principals or the parents waiting on the steps outside to pick up their kids. To learn more about the community, open up the local newspaper, Boss says. You can find out about community events or even how good the local high school football team is. Today's buyers can gather all sorts of neighborhood information from real estate blogs and websites like Zillow and Trulia. "It is the responsibility of the buyer to check crime reports, school options, churches, and shopping," says Boss. "Remember, you can change your house, but you can't change the neighborhood."

10. Not considering the resale value of your home

You've just started the home-buying process. The prospect of selling a home hasn't even crossed your mind. Besides, you're thinking you might live in whatever home you buy forever. Yet life is full of surprises, whether it is a job transfer or having another child or taking care of an incapacitated relative.

When the time comes to put your house on the market, will your home be easy or difficult to sell? While you're on the hunt, it's a good idea to account for preferences of the typical home buyer. Just because you love to landscape or enjoy a bright-pink backsplash doesn't mean a prospective buyer will. "How we make our plans initially has a big impact on our ability to adjust those plans and to deal with whatever comes our way," says Vanderwell.

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