10 Mistakes first-time homebuyers should avoid
Buying a house in the Netherlands may be the right option for you if you are fed up with trying to find the perfect place to rent or if you are planning to really put down some roots. Here are some key tips to ponder over before deciding to take the plunge.
If you are a first-time homebuyer, the process of buying a house can be overwhelming. As it turns out, this dream can quickly turn into a financial nightmare if you're not careful. Avoid these common mistakes when buying your first home:
1. Not knowing what you can afford
Not knowing what you can afford is one of the most common mistakes a first-time homebuyer can make. It is advisable to talk to a mortgage advisor before you start looking for a suitable home. The advisor will help you determine your budget.
2. Not looking into all available mortgage options
It makes sense to not only check the mortgage options at your own bank but to also check other lenders and the different types of mortgages they offer. Arrange a meeting with an independent mortgage advisor as they deal with a diversity of banks and lenders. They will compare the available interest rates and mortgages, so you will get the best suitable mortgage.
3. Not understanding the purchase costs
As a rule of thumb, the buyer’s costs usually amount to around 6% of the purchase price of the property. The buyer’s costs include, amongst others, the 2% transfer tax, the civil-law notary's costs, the estate agent costs and the mortgage costs.
It’s common for first-time homebuyers to assume they need a mortgage. A lender is willing to supply a maximum mortgage amount of 100% of the purchase price. This means that you need to fund the 6% of the closing costs yourself.
4. Forgetting to consider all expenses
Owning a home is a lot different than renting one. Make sure you leave enough wiggle room to save some money each month, in case you need it. If something breaks, you have to pay to fix it. Many first-time buyers forget to consider the additional costs that you can incur once you have bought a property, such as building insurance, a leasehold, maintenance, council tax and so on.
5. Not hiring a buying estate agent
First-time homebuyers sometimes try to cut costs and go directly to the listing agent. The Internet has made it possible to do a lot of the research yourself, but there’s no substitute for an experienced professional. A great negotiator who knows the market can save you time, money and heartache by helping you make the right offer.
6. Letting your emotions do all the talking
These days, starter apartments go quickly, and it's common for first-time buyers to experience rejection on the first offers they make. Buying a home can become a long and frustrating process. In that kind of environment, it's easy to fall in love with a house that's above your budget or get caught up in the heat of a bidding war and end up paying more than you wanted to and more than it’s worth.
7. Falling in love with home staging
Nowadays, a lot of homes are staged to showcase a home for sale. The attractive furniture and accessories are stunning displays of perfection. The problem is that there’s a big gap between this idealised way of a home and how we actually live in a home. The trick is to not fall in love with this decor and to imagine where you would put your own furniture.
8. Neglecting the technical inspection
A technical home inspection will help you avoid making a serious financial mistake. The report will state what kind of shape the house is in and what repairs you can expect in the near future. You don't want to get stuck with a money pit or with the headache of a lot of unexpected repairs.
9. Picking a fixer-upper because the listing price is cheaper
That old charming house may have loads of potential, but what will it really cost to get your home where it needs to be? There are some potential hazards to consider before buying a house that needs some serious TLC. Think before you act!
10. Not thinking about the future
Think long term, for a house is more than a home, it is a long-term investment. Of course, you don’t have a crystal ball to tell you what will happen in the future, but what are your plans for the coming 5 years?
Are you perhaps considering having a family in the near future? If so, you might be better off checking out a family-friendly area instead of a buzzing area or buying a two-bedroom apartment instead of a one-bedroom apartment.
The bottom line
Don’t take buying a property too lightly. There is a lot to consider before entering the housing market in the Netherlands. And if you do, make sure you have professionals by your side to help you out.