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Greg Cummings: San Diego Real Estate Agent

News > 4 Mistakes First Time Homebuyers Make

It’s an exciting time. You’ve saved up a down payment for your first condo or townhome.  You found what you think is your favorite place - but something goes wrong....You'll find out what common mistakes below that can cause the right purchase to slip through your hands.

You Didn’t Get Prequalified

Maybe you got your information from the Internet or maybe your friend has a neighbor who’s a mortgage broker who told you he thought you’d qualify for a certain amount. Truth of the matter is that if you don’t get pre-qualified by an actual lender, it’s like going into a gunfight with a pistol full of blanks. Just because you like a house and you have good credit doesn’t necessarily mean you earn enough money to qualify in the eyes of a lender. Being prequalified means you have gone to a lender, filled out the paperwork and given them the time (usually at least a couple of days) to come up with a prequalification letter. With this in your arsenal, you’re prepared to act quickly when you find a home you love.

Make sure you use a lender who has a good history of treating consumers right, including taking you through the entire process in an efficient manner. Feel free to contact us for a list of lenders that many of our clients have used successfully.

You Didn't Tell your Lender you Want to Buy a Condo

Since we represent so many condo buyers, we see this one often.  Unfortunately, not all condo developments are "FHA Approved", so if your lender barrelled into getting you prequalified for an FHA load, that will restrict the number of condos communities that you can purchase. 

Fortunately, there are several conventional loan programs with low downpayments, but they don't work for everyone, so it's important to make sure your lender knows you are looking for a condo (and some townhome style developments too) so he/she can find you a loan that opens up more buying opportunities.

If you need to use an FHA loan, below are a few FHA approved condos (at the time of this writing) that should work for you.

You Didn’t Use a Buyer’s Agent

Agency. It’s an important word in the universe of real estate transactions. The seller’s agent has a responsibility to get their client to act in the client's best interest. Why wouldn’t you want someone looking out for your best interests as well? What commonly happens is people looking for a home start visiting open houses. Without representation, the seller’s agent can attempt to represent you in an arrangement known as “dual agency.” This is perfectly legal and ethical, but it may not result in you acquiring your dream home at the best possible price.

For one thing, the seller’s agent wants to sell you the residence you walked in to. Maybe its the best place for you, but maybe it isn’t. A buyer’s agent will present you with a selection of condos, townhomes or single family resiences that you can visit and consider before signing on the dotted line.

The seller’s agent has a  responsibility to get the best price for their seller. Therefore, it becomes a bit of a sticky wicket when it comes to helping you get the best price. By securing your own buyer’s agent, you ensure someone is working with your best interests in mind.

You Forgot About Escrow and Closing Costs

You should be proud that you stuck to a budget and saved your down payment, but it’s important not to forget about the escrow and closing costs. Depending on how bad you want the home and how bad the seller wants to get out, sometimes these can be pushed onto the selling party. Securing a buyer’s agent is the best way to ensure you know all the upfront costs when it comes to buying a home.

Contact us and we’ll be happy to work with you to secure the best home possible and avoid  the pitfalls that sometimes beset a first time buyer.


Though not guaranteed, information and statistics in this article have been acquired from sources believed to be reliable.

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Logo for Fair Housing ActThe Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on color, race, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability.

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Last Updated: 2024-06-14