Articles, Buying Real Estate, Finance, Housing

First Time Home Buyers Mistakes: Discover Our Top 10

Written By: Daisy Moss
Reviewed by: Mike Reyes
Last Updated September 28, 2021

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first time home buyers Anastasia and Joel who just moved in

When buyers look for first home, making mistakes is almost normal, the first time. But, does it have to be? It can be hard to know where to start. Thinking about location, size of the house, the condition of the interior, potential renovations, and mortgages (the list could go on) can be overwhelming. Yet, knowing how to avoid a few common mistakes will make your life much easier. So, have a read through and take note of things you shouldn’t be doing when it comes to buying your first house, and that should make things easier when it comes to knowing what you should be doing! 

Thinking a 10% Deposit Is Always Enough.

In many cases, the first time home buyer accepts that a 10% deposit may be enough to secure a mortgage, but it’s a mistake. Yet, to put yourself in the best possible position, aiming to save 15% is the best option. When choosing a mortgage provider, your options will be so much better if you have a bigger deposit, and you will also receive much more competitive offers. Down payments of 5-10% often come with more expensive rates, putting you in a weak position for the future. It might be worth holding off for an extra year or two to save that 15% and get the best possible mortgage out there. 

Related Read: How to Get a Mortgage

Looking At Homes Before The Mortgage Is Pre Approved

a photo of us dollars being lent to first time home buyers for a mortgage

If you’ve decided that you are definitely in a position to commit financially to buying a home, the next thing you should do is have your mortgage agreed in principle, rather than viewing homes. First time home buyers often go looking for a home without having a budget, and that’s a big mistake. When you immediately jump into viewing homes with the budget you think you have based on your deposit, you may be left disappointed. Your mortgage offer will not merely be based on your down payment but also your income, debt, and future lifestyle changes such as job loss or having a child. 

Even though you have saved a sizeable down payment, don’t assume that you will automatically receive a particular figure for your mortgage. Secure your mortgage pre-approval first, then begin your home search. There would be nothing worse than finding your absolute dream home, only to find out that you will not be able to have it. Expect the worst when it comes to your mortgage, and anything more will be a bonus. 

Focusing On Superficial Aspects Of The First Home

Viewing homes is an exciting time. Yet, it is common for first time home buyers to look at the superficial elements that can easily get altered. For example, don’t worry about the color of the paint. Instead, consider the things that would be difficult to change. We’ve put together a list of some of the most important things you need to be looking out for when it comes to viewing homes. Don’t be afraid to ask the real estate agent directly about this if you have any concerns. However, be wary about their response as they want you to buy the property. So, perhaps take someone with you who has more experience and knows how to identify the following problems, which you can later relay to the surveyor. 

Here’s what buyers want to be looking for when looking for a first home.


Mold is a sign of excess moisture, signifying more significant issues in the homes. Without moisture, mold can’t grow, so there will likely be a leak somewhere or that the home is poorly insulated. First time home buyers might think it would be easy enough to paint over mold, however, that would be a mistake. Indeed, the mold will keep coming back until the issue rectifies. When you ignore mold, it can lead to numerous health problems, so identifying any moldy spots when looking at the house is essential, as it would be one of the first things to get sorted. 


First time home buyers may get carried away when looking at homes you love and forget to think about practicality, another big mistake. Does the home have enough bedrooms for what I need? How much excess storage space is there? Is the garage big enough? Is there a utility room? These are all things you should be considering when looking around, as unless you extend, space is one thing you can’t change about a property. 

Strength of Building

Any large cracks will indicate some structural weaknesses. Make sure to look out for these and highlight them to your surveyor before they complete the survey. Also, ask about the roof at this point. Roofs are expensive to replace, so if there are weaknesses, this could significantly decrease the home’s value. 

Electrical Sockets

Making significant changes to the electrics within a home is an expensive job. First time home buyers should try and picture how they might want the rooms to be laid out and consider a shortage of plug sockets. Indeed, this isn’t a make or break element as extension leads are an option, yet this is something to consider when convenient. 


When First time home buyers view a home, they may have music playing or the TV on for a bit of atmosphere. Politely request to turn off the sound when you’re viewing. That way, you’ll get an accurate representation of outside noise. Perhaps the road is much louder than you’d realized, or you can hear the neighbors. There isn’t much you can do when it comes to noise, so getting a feel for it at the first viewing is a good idea. 

Energy Efficiency

If you don’t look into the home’s energy efficiency, you could be paying massive energy bills each month. First time home buyers should ask about the boiler’s energy efficiency rating, if the loft is insulated correctly, how old are the windows, and if they’re double glazed, and finally, ventilation information. You could save yourself so much money if you find a home that is energy-efficient, as well as doing your bit for the environment. 

Not Researching The Location In Depth

If you’ve viewed a home, and have fallen in love, that should not be the end of your decision-making process. You need to make sure that the location is just as perfect as the home. Consider potential noise pollution, public transport links, crime rates, school districts, and local amenities when deciding if this is the right place for you to live. If you have any doubt that this might not be the best place for you, you may end up regretting your decision, no matter how much you love the home. 

Organize a viewing in the daytime, spend a couple of hours walking around the local area, try a local cafe or restaurant, and chat with the locals. Doing so will give you a good feel of the area in general. Then, organize a viewing in the evening and walk around to see the area at night. It should give you a good idea of what it will be like once you live there, so making time for a few different visits is a good idea. 

Thinking You Don’t Need To Have The Home Surveyed.

A property survey involves an in-depth inspection of the home you are potentially going to buy. The surveyor will look at the building’s structural makeup, any significant repairs that would need doing, and various other altercations around the home. You don’t have to legally have a survey on a property before you buy it. However, it is highly advisable. Without a survey, you may buy the property without identifying substantial issues. The home’s value could have been much lower had the problems been identified before the purchase, meaning you could have paid way over the home’s actual value. Not only this but having a survey will give you peace of mind that a home is a safe place for you to be. The initial investment of having a survey completed is likely to save you considerable amounts of money in the long run. 

Being Afraid To Negotiate!

First-time buyers may feel uncomfortable negotiating on homes’ price, yet you could be paying much more for the property than you should be if you don’t. Many sellers know that negotiations will start low, so they automatically increase the asking price for more wiggle room. So, you need to play the game and start with a relatively low offer. The estate agent wants to make the sale, so they are likely to work with you to come up with a reasonable figure to submit to the seller. Start with a low figure in mind and see how they respond. Be brave when it comes to negotiating without making unjustifiably low offers, and you’ll be surprised at how much you could save. 

Not Researching Your Lawyer

It is essential that first time home buyers find a good real estate lawyer to help them with their purchase – not doing so would be a mistake. It would be best if you considered the price first and foremost, as although you don’t want to break the bank, going for a firm with significantly cheaper fees than others is a warning sign. Read plenty of reviews, as this is one of the best ways to decipher between different firms charging a similar price. Speak to family and friends as they are likely to have recommendations. It would be best if you didn’t necessarily decide based on the real estate agent’s advice alone.  

Thinking You Can Move Without A Truck

When you start thinking about the practicalities of moving into your new home, another first time home buyer’s mistake is not hiring a truck. You might not believe that you have a truck full of things, but you’d be surprised at how much you have once everything you own is all packed up. Plus, expecting family and friends to ferry back and forth between two properties isn’t exactly the best idea! So, you should hire a truck to ensure you can take everything in one go, giving you much more precious unpacking time. 

Not Taking Time Off Work 

If you’re now in the position where you have bought the home and picked up the keys, it’s time for the hard work to begin. Many first time home buyers think they won’t need to take any time off work when moving into a new property. However, it takes an awful lot of work, so it is advisable to take about a week off. You will need to clean the home, unpack everything, and put furniture together, and that’s before any decorating begins!

It is rare that anyone moves into a home and doesn’t change anything, so you need to consider how much time you will need to decorate. You don’t want to have to spend every evening and weekend for the next month trying to get things sorted, so it’s better to take some time off work and get as much done in that week as you can. That means you will be able to start enjoying your new home much sooner, without all the mess! 

Overspending On Expensive Furniture

When it comes to buying furniture for your property, it may be tempting to want to invest in a designer sofa or overly expensive dining table, but it is vital to be sensible. You want your home to be beautiful, and it will be, but leaving yourself with a bank balance of zero as soon as you move in is not advisable. When you move into any property, there are likely to be many different snagging issues that need to get sorted. It could be as small as a broken kitchen cupboard or as big as an irreparable boiler, so you need to have some money available to rectify any problems. 

Your best options are to get larger pieces of furniture such as your sofa on finance, which will involve small monthly payments over a few years. It is much more sensible than splashing out thousands in one go. Where possible, use second-hand sites to source your furniture and upcycle it. You’d be surprised at how amazing you can make an old piece of furniture look using a bit of paint and some new fabric. For the first few years, being sensible about furnishing will help you repair any issues within your home quickly and easily, without money being a significant issue. 


So there you have it! Although this list isn’t exhaustive, it will give you a few ideas about things to think about. Indeed, making mistakes is common among first time home buyers, but it doesn’t have to be. Ask as many people for advice as possible; don’t be afraid to get the best price and stay organized. Try to make the most of buying your first house as it is a massive achievement that should make you incredibly proud!

Daisy Moss

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