Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your lifetime. Make the process go smoothly by learning from the mistakes others before you have unintentionally made. Doing so will ensure you move into the home of your dreams.

If you’ve never purchased a home before or you’ve taken the plunge many times before, a quick review of these costly pitfalls to avoid will be helpful.

Stay within Your Means. The thrill of shopping for a new house can make anyone giddy. From granite countertops to smart home technology to wine rooms— it is easy to get distracted by all the bells and whistles. Each additional feature increases the cost of the property. Adding an additional $5,000 to your mortgage may seem small, and you may be able to make the monthly payments now. But what happens when you or your spouse change jobs and the level of your income decreases? Or perhaps a medical issue keeps one of you out of work? Avoid the high end of your desired monthly payment to insure you can easily maintain payments no matter what happens in your world.

Assess Your Credit & Get Preapproved. Before you start your house hunt, you need to determine what you can afford. The best way to do this is to review your credit report and get preapproved for a loan. Veterans can reap a lot of benefits by tapping into VA loans; no money down and low-interest rates are attractive. While you’re working with your lender to determine what you can afford, ask about incentives that could help you out. Mortgage preapproval is the prime time to uncover the possibilities that may be available, e.g. waived fees and lower interest rates.

Get it in Writing. As your realtor negotiates the details of your purchase, don’t make assumptions that what is discussed will be remembered or actually happen. If you expect the washers and dryers to stay in the home you’re buying—get it in writing. Review your contract thoroughly before signing to make sure that everything you’ve agreed to will occur. The cost of replacing something, like a refrigerator you thought was staying, can add stress and expenses you don’t need.

Work with a Military-Friendly Agent. You wouldn’t buy a tractor from a car salesman because they aren’t well versed in all the facets about a tractor. Similarly, veterans should work with military-friendly agents who understand the nuances and benefits of VA homebuyers. They understand the importance of strong resale value for quick and profitable resale when you receive the orders to move again. Typically they have served themselves and are passionate about meeting your needs. Most importantly, they understand the unique requirements surrounding VA loans.




About Steve Lappin

Steve Lappin is a Vietnam War Navy Veteran with 20 years of real estate experience. He is an agent with Properties of the Carolinas. His web site is You can contact him by emailing or calling 704-380-1213.